| Dubai, United Arab Emirates


First-day jitters

Tearful transitions can be made easier with a story or two

© ITP Images

For every child that skips through the school gates full of excitement, there will always be one who isn’t quite feeling it. Starting a new school, or even returning to the classroom after a break, can be tricky for the kiddos and an anxious time for their adults.

But could reading be an anxiety buster? Most early years teachers agree children’s picture books dealing with the theme of starting school can be a reassuring tool for embarking on this new adventure.

At Time Out Kids our littlest readers have been engaged by a very unique story. School’s First Day of School, written by Adam Rex, which is told from the perspective of the building itself. In this beautifully illustrated tome we get to experience all the first-day nerves of an anxious school as it is taken over by a busload of noisy children.

Now, inanimate objects taking centre stage isn’t always on the English syllabus but this one strangely and beautifully works. It engages little ones from the beginning as they see how, on the first day of term, a brand-new school is feeling nervous and a little bit overcome (sound familiar?).

School is worried in case the children won’t like him and when some of them announce that he smells funny, he feels very sad and confused. Luckily, he makes a friend in Janitor, who helps him through the day and to understand the feelings he is experiencing, which happen to be the same ones many children feel on their first day (think fear, vulnerability and even embarrassment). Luckily, School also has a great sense of humour so the book is full of jokes perfect for the preschool and early years ages.

Rex also wrote The True Meaning of Smekday, which was adapted for the film Home starring Rihanna and Jim Parsons. He has a winning way with words, even for the tiniest readers and, with no apparent effort at all, this work introduces children to all parts of a school from the play structures, to the cafeteria and even the fire alarm. In the words of its creator, “Don’t tell anyone but I think it’s the best.”
Dhs63. Available on www.amazon.co.uk.

Four more stories to help them settle

The Kissing Hand – Audrey Penn
A cute story about Chester Racoon who does not want to start school. His mum provides gentle reassurance by telling him a family secret.
Dhs56. www.kinokuniya.com.

Let’s imagine at school
Fisher Price has made it their business to understand little ones, and this brightly illustrated book is a great way to introduce nursery school to the tiny tots. It’s sturdy pages are helpful, too.
Dhs43, www.kinokuniya.com.

Goat goes to playgroup – Julia Donaldson
What happens when a little goat tries nursery for the first time? A whole lot of commotion, of course. Preschoolers will have so much fun laughing at his antics.
Dhs36. www.souq.com.

Charlie and Lola: I am absolutely too small for school – Lauren Childs
Lola is sure that school is not for her. But as always, her wiser and older brother Charlie patiently convinces her it is.
Dhs33. www.souq.com.

Time Out Dubai,

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