Learning about our differences can be a powerful way for children to see from another person’s point of view. I encourage all parents to introduce some of these books or others like these to their children and use these stories as a reference when children bring up differences in school, particularly with special needs classmates. Because how great would it be if it were OUR child who can reach out like MacKenzie in The Friendship Puzzle?! The Friendship Puzzle and My Brother Charlie are a particularly powerful combination for anyone who has a sibling or classmate with autism and would be a great pair of books for any child starting kindergarten.
A transition to a new grade or school, not matter how small, is difficult for children. It’s helpful to visit the new school as often as possible. Play with kids that will be at the same school if you can. And read, read, read to your child books about starting school. The familiarity of routines and activities of the new school will take a lot of the anxiety away. So, while my youngest has been visiting his elementary school for 5 years so far, we’ll take it one step at a time and read these books over and over to ensure a smooth landing in September. And a few playdates with new friends is also on the books!