Even though kindergarten is not necessarily so very different from a good pre-k program, it still feels like a big jump. The hours are longer, and the days more structured. But the biggest difference is that our little ones will be going to the same school as the really big kids! Preschool can feel like a cozy extension of babyhood.... Not so kindergarten. Sigh.
As you make that change this year, or look forward to it for next year, here are a few books that are about making big moves and about the bigger world we live in. The world is a magical place, and for our children, it gets a little bit bigger every year.
This touching story about moving to a new home will reassure any preschooler facing a big move (as well as her anxious parents). And this moving tale is much more than just a tale about moving; it speaks to almost any transition that a change-fearing little person might face, like the move to kindergarten. This little hermit crab grows out of its shell and has to face the daunting task of getting comfortable in a new home. And then it has to do it again! Funny thing about all that growing, it seems to bring relentless change. All the more reason for teaching our little ones early how to embrace change. A child who sees change as opportunity? It may seem like a pipe dream, but Eric Carle makes us believe.
For the little ones, reading Miss Rumphius is like being taken on the knee of a lovely, eccentric, elderly relative and learning the amazing story of her life. This creaky old lady was once a very young girl too. A girl who sat on her own grandfather's knee and dreamed big dreams about traveling, living by the sea, and (as her grandfather instructed) leaving the world more beautiful than she found it. How she lives her dream is the story of this book—an unusual subject for a children's book, perhaps, but as captivating as they come. Little listeners will all wish for a great-aunt as adventurous and imaginative as Miss Rumphius.
By now your older preschooler is tired of one to ten. She can do it in three other languages, none of which you speak. She is ready for the big stuff. We have the book for you--an answer for the impossible "How much is a million?" question. The book is wonderfully fun, and it actually works to help little minds wrap around the seemingly impossible task of conceptualizing big numbers, something your preschooler will begin to work on in kindergarten. Marvelosissimo the Mathematical Magician shows his young friends and their pets that a million goldfish would need a fishbowl as big as a whale, that even seven full pages of the book printed with miniscule stars add up to only 100,000, that a million children standing on each other's shoulders would reach higher than airplanes fly. And then he tackles a billion and a trillion too. When the 100th day of kindergarten rolls around, with its celebration of all things 100, your little one will be ready for the counting to begin!
Your little one may have received this as a welcome-to-the-world present. You may have received this as a college graduation present. (Yes, it was published in 1990, which seems to some of us like just a minute or two ago....) In either case, you both should read it now. It's tends just a mite toward the sticky sweet in a way that other Dr. Seuss classics never do, but it's still an exalting, delightful book to share with someone who is at the very beginning of something big. And as any Savvy parent knows, that very much means both of you!
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