Reading with children

a blog by Magic Tales

child reading

The Psychology of Starting School Portrayed through Children’s Literature

Reading is not only an enjoyable pastime but it is also a tool for children to understand complex emotions, social scenarios, and major life events. One event in particular, starting school, is a pivotal moment in a child’s life. Various emotions come into play during this phase, and children's books provide an engaging medium to explore these feelings.

The realm of children's literature is filled with incredible stories that portray the psychological journey children undertake as they prepare for, and start, their school lives. These stories significantly help in easing the anxiety of starting school and fill the gap between the unknown and the new experiences awaiting the child.

Predictability and Expectations
The first step to understanding the world around us is exploring and making sense of it. Children's books often depict school days, helping frame what school is and what to expect there. Through the narratives and illustrations, children can predict possible routines, behaviours and events. Whether it's Marc Brown's 'Arthur's Teacher Trouble' or Miss Nelson in Harry Allard's 'Miss Nelson is Missing', children get a glimpse of the school dynamics and get mentally prepared for what lies ahead.

Addressing Anxiety and Fear
These books shed light on common fears kids might have upon starting school. The unknown can lead to anxiety, but literature provides a safe space to process these feelings. Characters such as Wemberly in 'Wemberly Worried' by Kevin Henkes or Chester in 'The Kissing Hand' by Audrey Penn normalize the feeling of being anxious and present it as a part of the process, ultimately dissolving the fear.

Developing Empathy
Children’s literature also helps kids to relate to the feelings of the characters in the story, developing empathy within them. The character's fears and anxieties might mirror their own, but as the plot evolves, they get to see how these characters face their worries and triumph over them, thus encouraging their own courage to face similar situations.

Encouraging Emotional Expression
Books that deal with starting school help encourage kids to express their feelings about this major shift. By identifying with characters who express their feelings freely, children learn that it’s okay to have and exert emotions.

To sum up, children’s literature plays a vital role in creating a safe and imaginative space to help kids understand and cope with the big step of starting school. By dipping into the world of these characters, children not only become more prepared for the reality of schooling but also develop emotional intelligence and empathy. So, make sure your little one's reading list includes these invaluable tales as they prepare for their big school journey.

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