I don’t remember my first day of kindergarten. I remember second grade, when I met the principal for the first time and I wrote my age (7) backwards. I had to ask for an eraser because my pencil didn’t have one and I was mortified, but he didn’t strike me dead with a lightening bolt so everything turned out okay. This book is about the first day of kindergarten, but it’s a great read for any kid at almost any point in the school year.
Title: Polka-Dot Fixes Kindergarten
Author: Catherine Urdahl
Illustrator: Mai S. Kemble
Genre: Picture Book
Ages: Perfect for 3 and up, or anyone going to preschool, kindergarten, summer camp, or anything else!
Why I loved it and how to use it with kids:
There are a lot of reasons to love this book. Here are some:
- Her name is Polka-Dot, which is the best nickname for Dorothy I’ve ever heard
- She lives with her grandfather, and I think books with non-traditional family structures are really important to show kids.
- She’s spunky and wonderful and afraid of her first day at school.
- Her grandfather fixes everything with duct tape, polka-dot bandages, and runny soap.
- He gives her a mini fix-it kit with all three of these things to take to kindergarten and she uses all of them. The runny soap doesn’t fix the mess she makes with the paints, and the bandages don’t help when she’s really sad, but the duct tape does help an enemy turn into a friend, and it saves the day, as duct tape always should.
Not only does this book have wonderful characters and absolutely gorgeous illustrations that would help any kid visualize school, but it gives parents and kids a really good idea. For those children who are too old for a binky or stufftie, or too practical for either, making them a small fix-it kit to take on their first day of a new activity might be just the thing to help them feel in control. Giving kids a sense of ownership and power is often all they need to feel a little less anxious. Maybe this is just what you need for that first day back from winter vacation! Here are some of my own ideas of things you could include in your kit:
- duct tape of course
- stickers, if you have that kind of kid (that likes to put stickers on everything to brighten up his/her world)
- small rocks or shells or feathers if you have that kind of kid (that likes to feel them in their hands to calm down)
- a small card that says how much you love them
- a photo of family
- a card with phone numbers on it
What about you? Any memories, good or bad, from your early school days? And any ideas for a back-to-school kit?