By now, very nearly all of Georgia’s students are back in school, pre-school, and daycare. For thousands of Georgia’s children, this is their first experience with school and/ or formal education. It is crucial that this is a positive year where learning is fun, encouraging, and exciting. This is the foundation of these children’s educational experience. An economical option for making the transition smooth and less stressful is books.

My son started Georgia Pre-K this year. We’re thrilled that he made it into and through the lottery of names as our school (now a combination of three schools) has one class for 22 students. But, to say the experience has been easy would be stretching it… a lot. While he’s a very ready extrovert, he is also easily over stimulated and anxious if there isn’t routine or order. On day four of his first week of school, he isn’t exactly comfortable with the masses of giant kids (he’s wearing a 2T uniform, folks) swirling around him.

As I dropped him off at his classroom door yesterday, his teacher helpfully met us to guide him into the group. This was not what he preferred, apparently, as he suction-cupped his body to my leg. So, I knelt down and quoted the last line of our favorite back to school story book; “Hey, you’re okay. This is fun. You did this yesterday, ‘…and I’ll do it again tomorrow because…’” and he finished, “It’s all good!” releasing my leg and heading into his room.

Parenting for the win!

We’ve been reading Pete the Cat, Rocking in My School Shoes every day for at least two weeks. It was a gift from my sister-in-law who taught Georgia Pre-K, so I can’t take all the credit for the genius of reading a school readiness book to him. This particular story helped prepare our child for the variety of rooms he would be travelling to in the course of his day: library, lunch room, playground, even the bus. And, we got him new school shoes which completely cemented the book into his heart.

This week, we’re adding another school readiness book that has to do with treating friends with respect (2 notes home in 2 days about hitting – maybe my awesome parenting skills were celebrated too soon).

Here is a recommended reading list from an advice column from PBS Parents:
The Berenstain Bears Go to School by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Annabelle Swift, Kindergartner by Amy Schwartz
First Day Jitters by Julie Dannenberg
I Am Absolutely Too Small for School by Lauren Child
Get Ready for Second Grade, Amber Brown by Paula Danzinger

What books are you reading to ease the transition? What can you recommend to parents like me who are doing this for the first time? Add your suggestions to the comments below and help us build a great, tested and proven reading list for Back to School!

This video is a great sample of Pete the Cat, Rocking in My School Shoes