Top Ten First Day of Kindergarten Books

first day of kindergarten books

My oldest daughter be going to kindergarten this week (sniff, sniff) and we have been reading lots kindergarten books to prepare.  Here are our favorites (in no particular order)…

Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt– This is the perfect book for a kid (or parent) who loves space.  Everything about the first day of kindergarten is related to a space mission.  The teacher is the commander, the classroom is a capsule, and classmates are crewmates.  Hilarious story with very cute illustrations!

Kindergarten Rocks! by Katie Davis– Dexter’s big sister tells him all about kindergarten and helps him find his lost stuffed animal on the first day.

Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten! by Hyewon Yum– In this story the mom is nervous about kindergarten and her son had to reassure her that everything will be fine.  The illustrations show mom small and blue when she is anxious and big and colorful when she feels fine.

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate– This rhyming book shows the teacher and her twenty-six students (from Adam the alligator to Zach the zebra) getting ready for kindergarten.

Look Out, Kindergarten, Here I Come! by Nancy Carlson– It is a simple story about a little mouse who is excited and then a little nervous about kindergarten.  It is written in both English and Spanish.

The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten by Maureen Fergus– Just as the title says, Mom comes to kindergarten… and embarrasses her daughter because she doesn’t know the rules.

Tom Goes to Kindergarten by Margaret Wild– Tom the Panda is nervous about kindergarten so his parents stay with him the first day.  Then they want to come back because it is so much fun!

The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing– Cute book that is written in the style of “The Night Before Christmas.”  My daughter thought it was funny that the teacher had to ask the crying parents to leave.

The Berenstain Bears Go To School by Stan & Jan Berenstain– Sister Bear is nervous about going to kindergarten in the Bear Country School so she meets her teacher and checks out her classroom.  On the first day of school she has lots of fun building blocks, painting pictures, and looking at books.

Kindergarten Countdown by Anna Jane Hays– This rhyming book counts down the week before kindergarten with numbers and days of the week.

What Should a 4 Year Old Know?

With Back to School season upon us, I’ve been seeing “What Should a 4 Year Old Know?” posted a lot on Facebook.  The author states parents shouldn’t be so concerned about their preschooler doing a checklist of skills.  Instead, they need to let children be free to explore, make a mess, and have fun.  I agree.  Parents need to calm down, put away the flashcards, and go have fun with their kids.  After all, everyone learns in their own time.  They are only four-years-old once.  Worry less, and play more.

However, I also think most parents that ask “What should a 4 year old know?”  have their hearts in the right place.  They don’t want to get their kid on Leno for memorizing all the names of the presidents.  They just want their kid to feel smart when they start kindergarten.  They want the best for their kids.  Nobody wants their child to begin their school career feeling confused and left behind when everyone else knows how to count to ten. Those feelings stick with kids.

I think there is a middle ground between constant unstructured free time and constant drill and practice with flash cards.  I agree with the author that learning should be worked into life naturally.  How about spending time with your kids and finding some teachable moments in fun activities?  You can count how many cups you need while cooking or how many elephants you see at the zoo.  You can find letters in signs as you drive.  You can do a shape hunt at the playground or write letters in the sandbox.  They get the benefit of having fun with you AND they learn academic skills.

I have a 4 year old.  She is not going to preschool at all this year.  She will start kindergarten next fall.  My plan is to have fun and make some memories (probably mostly mine) of this last year before she starts school.  And the learning?  I think this will prepare her enough for kindergarten.

Day 1

This is the day.  The day that would have been the first day of new school year.  The day when I would have rushed around getting little ones dressed and fed and dropped off (hoping they didn’t cry) at preschool.  The day when I would see all my teacher friends and answer the question “How was your summer?” twenty times.  The day when I would be making name tags and putting up bulletin boards.

But it wasn’t that day.  It was the day that my daughters crawled into bed with me and cuddled while watching Dada get ready for work.  It was the day while we ate a lazy breakfast, played with puzzles, cleaned the kitchen a bit, then went to see a magic show.

When I quit my job last spring I thought today would really bother me.  Packing up my classroom in May didn’t seem real.  But not coming back in August?  That would be weird.  I have been going “Back to School” as a student or teacher since I was five-years-old.  I love buying new school supplies and making a fresh start.

But now I am making a new fresh start being a stay-at-home mom.  It is pretty exciting doing something I never thought I would do.  Although the more I think about it…of course I should be a stay-at-home mom!  I love kids and my daughters’ ages (2 and 4) are especially fun.  I love doing silly kid stuff like magic shows.  Not going to school today didn’t seem nearly as strange as I thought it would.  Maybe it won’t really hit me until the fall.  Maybe I’m just so excited about my summer not ending on August 7 that it still hasn’t sunk in that I don’t have a classroom anymore.  I don’t have a desk anymore.  I don’t have a job anymore.

Okay.  It feels a little weird.