Ready or not...


Stars sleep as I wake
To this brand new school day

R.K. Dotlich
in L. Bennett Hopkins (Ed) Hamsters, shells and spelling bees: school poems

Getting ready for the first day of elementary school. I am finding hard to pretend that this is not a big deal: in fact, it feels as a huge deal – for Verdun more than everybody, of course, but it does involve the rest of the family as well.
She is an really "can't wait" stage. We have visited the school, met the teacher. We have been given an advent like calendar with windows to open every day over the last two weeks before school, and a pile of leaflet for me to read on how to cope with the remarkable variety of issues that may arise on the way. We even made a little book with the story of a little girl leaving her mum to face the first day of kindergarten.

Verdun is as ready as can be. She's in a real"can't wait" stage, yet sometimes anxiety creeps through –especially at nighttime, just before falling asleep, when she wanders, very quietly, "But what if I miss you and I am sad...?"
So we have been looking for books dealing with starting kindergarten, suggested by friends and librarians, as well as randomly picked up from library shelves. In our family, books really seems to work with helping to deal with big changes and overwhelming emotions. Here are a few picks from our very long list – some of the ones Verdun likes best.
Brand new pencils, brand new books (Gilbert finds out that it is ok not to be perfect and how everyone in his K class has his own fears and very special talents)
Berenstain J. The Berenstain bear go to school (Sister bear is off to her first day at Bear county school, but she’s not quite sure how she feels about it – Brother bear has to encourage her on the bus, but soon the roles are inverted)
Child L. I am too absolutely small for school (Of course Lola does not have time to go to school – she is too extremely busy doing important things at home. Luckily ephimeral Soren Lorensen is going to be there right next to her)
Davis K. Kindergarten rocks (So says big sister Jessie, who went to kindergarten long, long, long ago – but still remembers it, even though she’s starting third grade. Little brother Rufus finds out she’s right after all)
Middleton C. Enrico starts school (Things in kindergarten do not go exactly as Enrico had planned – they go even better, in the end)
Pattison D., ill by S. Salerno 19 girls and me (The only boy in his kindergarten class, John Hercules turns recesses into wild explorations with his classmates)
Portis A. Kindergarten diary (A day by day diary of Annalina’s first month of school – playing on monkeybars, feeding the pet tortoise, making new friends and dealing with those huge first graders)
Roth C., ill by P. Paparone The little bus (A colourful set of animal classmates drive the bus to school) Scarry R. Great big schoolhouse (Even big school looks more friendly if Huckle cat and Lowly worm are involved)
Slate J., ill by A. Wolff Miss Bindergarten gets ready for kindergarten (getting ready from the first day of school, from the point of view of the kindergarten teacher)
Stuve-bodeen S., ill by C. Hale Elizabelti’s school (In her small village in Tanzania, Elizabeti goes through a mix of excitement and fears that rings very familiar to readers on the other side of the world)
Wells R. My kindergarten (A longer picture book, organised as a presentation of all kindergarten main moments and events in the school year, from the night before the first day of school to kindergarten graduation)
These two collections of poems deal with many different aspects of school life, such as eating in a cafeteria, taking a school bus, the very much dreaded showing and telling and so on – beautifully illustrated too.
Prelutsky J., ill by D. Cushman What a day it was at school!
Bennett Hopkins L. (Ed), ill by S. Yoshikawa Hamsters Shells and spelling bees: school poems

With lots of heartfelt wishes  to all future kindergarteners.

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