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Helping Young Children Start School

A new school year can make young children nervous, especially if they are entering a new environment. Whether they are starting preschool, kindergarten or first grade, some children may be worried about the new setting and the new experience, and there are things that parents and families can do to help their children make a successful transition.

Problems may arise during the first few days of school, even with appropriate preparation, so be ready to handle them in a matter-of-fact way. Approach the new year with confidence, and your child will, too. Take time to make sure your child adapts to his new environment, clearly explain the changes around him, and listen if he has doubts or fears.

Early Years Are Learning Years is a regular series from NAEYC ( providing families with tips for giving their young children a great start on learning. Parts of this information excerpted from So Many Goodbyes, by J. B. McCracken.

Additional Resources

1990/1997, NAEYC. So Many Goodbyes, by J. B. McCracken. #573/Single copies are $0.50 each; 100 copies are $10.

Balaban, N. 1985. Starting school: From separation to independence (A guide for early childhood teachers). New York: Teachers College Press.

Books to read with your child
Timothy Goes to School, by Rosemary Wells (Dial Books for Young Children)
Will I have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen, illustrated by Lillian Hoban (Macmillan)

This information provided courtesy of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
Posted August 2009

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