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It is that time of year again, where thoughts and questions turn to what will happen in September. Children may have already started to ponder this, wondering who their new teacher might be.

Transition Day in July gives classes the chance to explore their new environment and chat to their new teacher. It is a lovely day in school, filled with excitement and anticipation. We all, likely, have fond memories of this in our own pasts – carrying our trays to the new classroom, taking down name tags from above pegs and emptying our school bags of months of scrap paper drawings.

Although children usually do this as a class and so have some support in the shared experience, it can also be a nerve-wracking time for children. It feels particularly intense at primary school where children form such strong bonds with the teacher they have seen every day for the last 11 months.

We’ve put together a list of books and activity ideas that might help children feel settled. These could be used on Transition Day or any time during July. You could share some of these recommendations with parents too, who might want to read them in the summer holidays.


All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman

Age range: EYFS/KS1

A simple and beautiful book that champions diversity. Perfect for a new class or when new children are joining.

Activity idea: Using paper handprint cut outs (pre-prepared or made by the children), ask children to draw a picture of themselves on their handprint; focusing on what they love about themselves. When completed, create a display that shows all the class together. Note all the wonderful differences and similarities between the children and how these should be celebrated.


Mooncat and Me by Lydia Corry.

Age range: KS1

A wonderful choice for children feeling nervous about a new class. It includes vibrant illustrations, filled with detail.

Activity idea: Ask the children to imagine that Pearl is starting their class next week. Can they come up with a list of ideas to help her settle in? Then talk about how Pearl won’t know anything about the class or the school – can the children create a ‘Welcome’ booklet for her. Examples of what it might include could be – who to ask for help (including photos of key staff), a map of the school, fun fact about the class, a timetable, lunch menu etc.


On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies

Age range: KS1/Lower KS2

A beautiful tale of friendship and it’s inevitable ups and downs. This story leans in to the theme of jealousy and, as such, would be great for classes with new children or those struggling with friendship groups.

Activity idea: Take a cardboard box and show the children how plain and boring it is. Ask each child, in turn, to draw a small doodle on the box – they should make it fun and bright. Once it is done, talk together about how their collective drawings have made the box better. Refer this sentiment back to the story – was the characters’ cardboard contraption better or worse when they worked together.


Oi Duck-billed Platypus! by Kes Gray and Jim Field

Age range: KS1

A firm favourite in many classrooms, this laugh-out-loud book is a great ice breaker for nervous classes!

Activity idea: Can the children come up with fun rhyming words for their own names? Work in pairs or small groups.


The Invisible String by Patrice Karst and Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

Age range: EYFS/KS1

A particularly sweet book for new children starting reception. The story delves into the theme of separation is a gentle way, helping to settle any nerves about being away from parents/caregivers for the first time.

Activity idea: Using paper hearts (pre-prepared or cut out by the children), give each child two hearts to decorate. One heart is for them to keep in their pocket or school bag and the other is to give to their parent or caregiver. They can use these hearts as their ‘invisible string’, looking at it or giving it a squeeze whenever they feel sad. You could send a short letter home with the hearts so caregivers can follow up on this conversation at home, if they like.


The Worst Class in the World by Joanna Nadin and Rikin Parekh

Age range: KS2

A funny and engaging story that your class will think is hilarious!

Activity idea: Pretend there is a competition for ‘the best class in world’. Why do the children think their class should win? This is a great opportunity to highlight all the positive learning behaviours you would like to encourage – remembering to also include things such as ‘we have lots of fun’, ‘we are good at making friends’ etc. The children could create posters to show why the class are so amazing!


Don’t forget, we have book recommendations for Year 6s starting secondary school here Supporting children through the move to secondary school

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