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Back to School: Start Smart!

Competence and confidence equals school success

Highlights 4Cs

Curious, Creative, Caring, and Confident™
The light bulb icon represents curiosity. For content about raising a curious child, look for this icon.
The paint brush icon represents creativity. For content about raising a creative child, look for this icon.
The holding hands icon represents caring. For content about raising a caring child, look for this icon.
The thumbs up icon represents confidence. For content about raising a confident child, look for this icon.
Whether going off to school for the first time or starting another year, experts agree that a child who feels capable and secure is set up for school success.
First grade girls excited about going back to school

To help your child feel competent and confident, we have back-to-school tips and products to help you and your youngster get ready for the year ahead—feeling good and ready to learn!

3 Tips to Get Kids Excited for School

In the days and weeks leading up to school, build the momentum for learning:

1. Foster creativity, joy, competence, and independence.
  • Encourage your child to select his school belongings and decorate them to reflect his personality. Pride of ownership—and the desire for self-expression—goes a long way!
  • Let your son or daughter help plan, shop for, prepare, and pack snacks and lunches. This teaches responsibility and sends the message that even small stuff takes time and planning.
2. Fill your child’s world with learning opportunities.
  • Naturally pique curiosity--Hang maps on playroom or family-room walls, leave magnifying glasses outdoors, or place stick-on letters inside the bathtub.

  • Promote new interests: If your child is into music, play favorite tunes as she sets the table. Have a budding scientist? Create a “wow-I-didn’t-know-that-moment” by leaving illustrated guides to trees, insects, or birds in the car.

3. Provide a steady diet of rich stories, poetry, and works of wonder.
  • To ignite imagination, boost vocabulary, nurture communication skills, and build character, provide more than just “stuff” to read.
    • Leave different types of books around your home for your child to find and wander through at his leisure.
    • In the car, try classic fairy tales. Look for books with entrancing illustrations that will keep your child from begging for your phone.
    • Place a favorite childhood book of yours on a living room table. When you “catch” your curious reader picking it up, share memories of reading. Repeat often.
    • Stack joke books in the bathroom and turn those “lost” moments into pure delight.


Editor’s Product Picks: Kindergarten

This is a period of growth and change as kindergartners venture into the more formal setting of schools and classrooms, which most children welcome with a sense of wonder and discovery. They’re ready to apply their skills and knowledge to the more complex tasks of the school environment. This sense of discovery can be tempered by jitters of going to the “big kids’ school.”

The following products are just what kindergartners need to start the year with the skills for a successful school year.


The Big Fun Kindergarten Workbook

You can help your budding student acquire all the skills needed in kindergarten—colors, shapes, letters, numbers, early reading and math skills—with the activities found in The Big Fun Kindergarten WorkbookThrough puzzle play, matching and sorting games, and number and writing activities, your child will build concentration, attention to detail, and critical thinking skills to help him learn and grow as a student.

Editor’s Product Picks: First Grade

First grade is a time of adjusting, as schedules and classes are more structured, and playtime is diminished. First-graders are full of energy and ready to make new and important connections, often with a best friend. Some develop deep relationships with teachers.

The following products will help first graders start the year with all the skills for a successful school year.


Word Practice—Handwriting

Writing words and solving puzzles help kids develop and build vocabulary, and by learning to print, children are writing the same words they see in books, which strengthens the reading-writing connection. Your child gets all this and more in Word Practice—Handwriting, which includes bonus digital handwriting tutorials.

Editor’s Product Picks: Second Grade

Children in this developmental stage feel more settled in school and competent about their skills and daily routines. They look forward to seeing friends at school and value their teachers but can be territorial, tending to solve problems through emotions.

These books will provide your second grader with the practice needed in key areas for a successful school year.


Handwriting: Cursive Practice

The ability to write in cursive is a skill all kids need for school success. The Handwriting: Cursive Practice pad features step-by-step guides to forming letters and includes bonus digital handwriting tutorials.