This storytime introduces preschoolers or kindergarteners to school and storytime. We will read four books, sing along with two songs, do a bus behavior practice, and finish with a felt shape pencil craft!
Dora the Explorer: First Day of School (Jorge Aguirre)
If you have English learners, I HIGHLY recommend using a book like this on the first day to set the tone for communication in your classroom or library. English learners tend to experience a lot of anxiety when communicating at school, especially if they have been encouraged to use only English. This book gives a good overview of what to expect at school while also illustrating the value of practicing both languages in the classroom.
Charlie and Lola: (...) Absolutely Small for School (Lauren Child)
Charlie and Lola are the most wholesome brother and sister duo. They are also hilarious and have the sweetest accents (watch a clip from their show on YouTube if you aren't familiar)! In this book, Lola expresses her many concerns about attending school and her brother tries to reason and comfort her. After her first day, she finds it wasn't so bad afterall! Great for reading in the beginning hours of school to soothe any anxieties first-time students may be facing.
Pete the Cat: Rocking In My School Shoes (Eric Litwin)
My favorite Pete the Cat book! I actually prefer to play the audiobook version (which you can find on YouTube, the Pete the Cat website, and spotify) because it has the song in it. Whenever the song starts playing we sing and dance along!
Pete the Cat: The Wheels on the Bus (James Dean)
It's the classic nursery rhyme with a Pete the Cat twist. Kids will love singing along and doing the motions with you (see activities below). This book is also great to read before discussing school bus etiquette.
The Wheels on the Bus Song & Movements
If you are reading the Pete the Cat book, you can ask an assistant to help demonstrate the motions while you read. Otherwise, you can play any version of The Wheels on the Bus using a stereo or even a projector if you want to show the video. Above is the official singalong music video for the Pete the Cat version!
Brilliant Bus Behavior Practice
If you have a bus that they can practice boarding, use it! If not, you can always line up chairs and have them pretend it is a bus. First, discuss why good behavior on a bus is important (so the driver can focus and get you there safe). Then, line the students up at the bus door and go through the steps.
Here are some example steps:
1. Line up quietly and wait for the bus driver to invite you in.
2. Enter and find a seat (you may want them to start at the first seat.)
3. Only two to a seat! Keep arms, feet, and belonging out of the aisle.
4. Speak quietly. (You may want to sing The Wheels on the Bus again using your bus voices.)
5. When the bus stops, wait for the driver to give you the okay to stand up.
6. File out quietly, one at a time, and thank the driver!
Note: Before practicing, especially if you are using the chair method, I would recommend modeling do's and don'ts for them. Having an actual example will help them remember (and they may get a giggle or two if you are silly enough). Ex: Form a bridge between two seats with your body - this is a definite no.
Craft: Felt Shape Pencils
Felt, foam, or construction paper (yellow, pink, brown, black)
Glue (we use tacky glue)
Preparation: Pre-cut long yellow rectangles, brown triangles, smaller black triangles, and pink squares. From the foil, cut rectangles.
Assembly: Simply line the shapes up to make a pencil and glue them together! As you glue each shape, discuss what each shape is as well as its color and texture.