Learning to like school

Learning to like school
As a parent, you have an important role to play in helping your child enjoy school.

As a parent, you have an important role to play in helping your child enjoy school. Every day, with the little things you do, you can instil a thirst for learning and help your child adjust to kindergarten.

Starting kindergarten marks the beginning of a whole new adventure for your child. It’s important that this first school experience be a positive one. If the transition to kindergarten goes smoothly, a child is more likely to be motivated in class and perform well throughout elementary and even high school.

As a parent, you play a major role in nurturing a positive attitude about school. Studies show that parent commitment is a key element in a child’s performance and motivation in class.

This starts at birth and continues throughout your child’s academic career. For example, by being loving and attentive to your child, by answering their questions, establishing routines and helping them become self-sufficient, you’re preparing your child for school without even knowing it.

Sparking curiosity

You can also help your child develop a thirst for learning and discovery. For example, it’s important to encourage your child to ask questions about different subjects (e.g. plants, insects, rain, airplanes, etc.) and to find the answers with you by searching on the internet or borrowing a book on the topic at the library. This is a great habit to get into, since children who are curious and want to understand things are more motivated in school.

Reading stories to your child is another good habit. When you read with them, they discover the joy of reading and look forward to learning to read on their own. This is important because reading makes all learning easier — not only for language and literature, but also in math, history and geography. A child who reads well usually obtains better grades.

Talking to your child often and reading them stories are both actions that will help them in school.

It’s also essential to get your child to talk. For example, ask them to tell you what happened during a show they just watched, how they would solve a hypothetical problem, what they would do if they were the character in a story, what they think about a given situation, and so forth. You will get your child used to thinking and to saying what they think and build their confidence and critical thinking skills, which are assets in school.

Lastly, talking positively about the school and taking an interest in what your child does in class is another way to help them develop a positive attitude. Going to parent-teacher meetings and taking part in school activities is also a good way to show your child that school is important to you.

Actions that count

You can help your child enjoy school through small everyday actions. Here are a few examples.

When you let your child do things by themselves, like getting dressed, tying their shoelaces and brushing their teeth,
they become more self-sufficient and responsible, which gives them a sense of proud and confidence.
When you take the time to listen to your child’s feelings and fears about school and try to answer their questions,
they feel reassured and more confident.
When you set a routine for your child,
they learn to be better organized both at home and at school, and feel safe.
When you show interest in what your child does at school, such as by asking them what they learned today or who they played with,
they see that they’re important to you, and it makes them even more eager to learn.
When you go to parent-teacher meetings and participate in class activities (e.g., shows, exhibits, field trips),
your child understands that school is important, and their motivation grows.
When you read the messages the teacher sends you,
your child understands that you and their teacher make a team.
When you read in front of your child,
they feel encouraged to imitate you and learn to read as well.
When you praise your child’s efforts and not just their results,
they learn to persevere. They understand that hard work is necessary to succeed.
When you congratulate your child by describing what you liked, such as by saying: “I really like the colours you used in your drawing”,
you build up their self-esteem and self-confidence.

Things to avoid

Of course, you want your child’s entry into kindergarten to go as smoothly as possible. But sometimes, without even realizing it, you can do or say things that can give a negative impression of school or that add to your child’s stress. How can you prevent this from happening? Here are some tips to guide you.

  • Don’t push your child too hard or have expectations that are too high.
    Before kindergarten, you can answer their questions about letters and words, and draw their attention to the letters in their name. You can also teach your child to count groups of objects. However they don’t need to know the entire alphabet, or how to count to 100.

    Putting pressure on a child to learn things they’re not ready can cause them stress and make them feel as though they’ve failed. They may lose confidence in their abilities and be less motivated to learn. They might also start not wanting to go to school or being afraid of disappointing you.
  • Don’t use school as a threat. For example, avoid saying things like: “You’re going to have to listen at school! They’re not going to put up with behaviour like that for very long!” These types of statements give a negative impression of school, and your child may no longer want to go — before they even get to kindergarten.
  • Don’t let your emotions show. It’s normal to feel worried or upset when your child starts kindergarten, but it’s best not to let them see this. It will only make them worry for nothing.
  • Don’t speak poorly of the school or the teachers. A child needs to feel that his parents trust the school and their teacher. If you don’t agree with something, make an appointment with the teacher or administration to discuss it rather than speaking about it with your child.

Things to keep in mind

  • Parents play an important role in promoting a positive image of school.
  • Taking an interest in what your child does in class and speaking positively about the school will motivate your child to go.
  • Avoid putting too much pressure on your child to perform in school.
Naître et grandir

Scientific review : Annie Lamontagne, Kindergarten Teacher
Research and copywriting :
The Naître et grandir team
Updated : December 2023

Photo : Nicolas St-Germain

Useful links and resources

Please note that hyperlinks to other websites are not updated regularly, and some may have changed since publication. If a link is no longer valid, use search engines to find the relevant information.


Books for parents

  • Homework and Studying, M.-C. Béliveau, Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2010, 68 pp.
  • LessonsLearned: The Kindergarten Survival Guide for Parents, J. Podest, Balboa Press, 2014, 108 pp.
  • Ready For Kindergarten!: From Recognizing Colors to Making Friends, Your Essential Guide to Kindergarten Prep, D. J. Stewart, Adams Media Corporation, 2013, 224 pp.
  • The Littlest Learners: Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten, D. R. Roginski, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2017, 160 pp.

Books for kids

  • Dad’s First Day, M. Mohnoutka, Bloomsbury Press Agency, 2015, 32 pp.
  • How to Be Kind in Kindergarten: A Book for Your Backpack, author: D. J. Steinberg, ill.: R. Hammond, Penguin Young Readers Group, 2021, 32 pp.
  • How Will I Get to School This Year?, author: J. Pallotta, ill.: D. Biedrzycki, Scholastic Canada, 2013, 32 pp.
  • Kindergarten Countdown!: 10 more sleeps until school starts, author:M. Blain Parker, ill.: S. Borrows, Streling Children’s Books, 2017, 32 pp.
  • Kindergarten: Where Kindness Matters Every Day. author: VAhiyya, ill.: JChou, Random House, 2022, 40 pp.
  • Our Class is a Family, author: S. Olsen, ill.: S. Sonke, Shannon Olsen, 2020, 28 pp.
  • Ready, Set, Kindergarten!, author: P. Ayer, ill.: D. Abour, Annick Press, 2015, 24 pp.
  • School Rules, author: R. Munsch, ill.: D. Whamond, Scholastic Canada, 2019, 32 pp.
  • The King of Kindergarten, author: D. Barnes, ill.: V. Brantley-Newton, Penguin Young Readers Group, 2019, 32 pp.
  • The Night Before Preschool, author: N. Wing, ill.: A. Wummer, Penguin Young Readers Group, 2016, 22 pp.
  • The Queen of Kindergarten, author: D. Barnes, ill.: V. Brantley-Newton, Penguin Young Readers Group, 2022, 32 pp.