“First Day of School” by Anne Rockwell


Some people like it, some people hate it, but no one can deny that the summer vacation is coming to an end. Or it has already ended, depending on the school district. Naturally, it is hard to give up the guilt-free idleness, long breakfasts and late bed times. One can easily get used to living without a schedule and a piercing sound of an alarm clock. But at the same time, there is always this inexplicable excitement at a new beginning.  With a new school year,  our children open a new chapter of their lives. ( Even if they don’t understand the above metaphor yet.) Kindergarten, 1st grade, junior high… Time flies.

Our son will become a proud kindergartner this year. He is thrilled.  All he knows is that he will meet a lot of new friends at the Big-Kid-School and that he will study science, which in his mind boils down to weird experiments. How not to be excited at such prospects! But for many children the very thought of starting or going back to school might be scary. What do you do as a parent if your child is not positive about school?  I suggest a simple trick: focus shifting. Instead of talking about a new school year, a new class, a new teacher… why not to talk about new clothes for school, a new haircut or a new pencil-case?

Nicholas gets a haircut to look sharp for the first day of school. As it turns out, many of his friends get something new before the school starts. A new backpack for Kate, a new dress for Eveline, , or a new shiny key for Evan, big enough now to stay home alone. (Almost alone, that is. With a babysitter). As children give one another updates on their preparations for the first day of school, they also reminisce about their fears and laughs from the previous years. As a result, neither Nicholas, nor his friends can wait for the school to start. And nothing would be better than being in the same class with their best friends.

A very familiar scenario, isn’t it? A humorous and reassuring story. A just-right read before the school gates open. And you still have time to arrange a  playdate for your child and his/her future class-mates.  We had ours last weekend and I must say, it is a great icebreaker, indeed.

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