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Preparing for your first day at school

These books and ideas will help your child start school feeling confident and happy. Words For Life are here to help with your child's first day at school.

Dad and son

Starting primary school can be a positive experience for everyone. The more familiar children are with their new school or nursery, the quicker they will settle in. As parents, you are your child’s first teacher. Here's a quick and easy guide to help prepare your child for starting school.

Get to know your child's new school

You can help to prepare your child to start school by:

  • Finding out about the school so you understand what will happen when your child starts.
  • Being open to a home visit from the teacher before starting school, if offered.
  • Looking at the school’s website.
  • Making sure you know what to do on the first day: where to go in the morning, and where to collect your child from.

Help your child to get ready for school routines

  • Play games that involve taking turns and sharing.
  • Help them to ask for what they need if they are hungry, thirsty or tired.
  • Teach them to dress themselves, feed themselves and use the toilet on their own.
  • Practise the new morning routine, including getting up and dressed, and having breakfast ‘in time for school.’
  • Make sure your child has plenty of sleep and is ready for school on the first day.

Read books about starting school with your child

There are lots of different books you can share about school. This can help your child feel prepared to start or return to school. Try to read and share one of these books and talk about how your child is feeling about starting school.

Books about starting school

  • Starting School by Janet and Allen Ahlberg
  • Topsy and Tim Start School by Jean and Gareth Adamson
  • Going to School by Anna Civardi and Stephen Cartwright
  • Harry and the Dinosaurs Go To School by Ian Whybrow
  • Come to School Too, Blue Kangaroo! by Emma Chichester Clark
  • I Am Too Absolutely Small For School by Lauren Child