As a kid, did you like to play school when you weren’t in the classroom? If so, then you, too like the fun and comfort of doodling in your Lisa Frank notebooks, chatting with friends in the hallway, texting in class, and just hearing that school bell ring. And if everything about heading back to school is your kid’s jam as well, now seems like as good a time as any to watch some
great television shows about school with the family. Alternatively, if your kid has some back-to-school jitters, a comforting TV show about school just might be the key to easing that anxiety. A little catharsis can go a long way.
Watching any of these series, or even just a single episode, can help your child get excited for the new school year. Many of the shows on this list feature relatable characters and storylines
like As Told By Ginger, Boy Meets World, or Hey Arnold. From nostalgic ‘90s favorites to fantastic new cartoons, these streaming TV shows about school for kids of all ages tackle things like bullying, school crushes, feeling like the odd man out, and more. Whatever your family’s feelings are about heading back to school, you’ll find plenty to love and relate to here. 1 Timothy Goes To School
Meet Timothy, an enthusiastic 5-year-old raccoon who is so excited to start school for the first time. Along with ten other animated animals, including an “upper-class” cat, a tomboy beaver, sulky mouse, and science-y skunk, Timothy learns how to thrive in the kindergarten at Hilltop school. Of course no classroom would be complete without a great teacher like Mrs. Jenkins, who just happens to be a fox sporting her signature red-rimmed glasses. This is the perfect series for kids wearing their brand new big backpacks, nervous about what is to come. The show is also based on the book series of the same name, so Timothy’s adventures and raccoon antics can make great bedtime stories too.
Watch Timothy Goes To School, rated TV-G, on Amazon Prime Video. 2 Hey Arnold!
Having a football-shaped head and living with your offbeat grandparents isn’t typical. Just take it from Arnold, who is relentlessly bullied in the hallways of his school, P.S. 118. Thankfully, he has his best friend Gerald by his side to make things much better. With five seasons and 100 episodes, this beloved kids TV show is hailed by fans across the world and even spun off into two
Hey Arnold! movies, for both the big and little screen. Watch Hey Arnold!, rated TV-Y7, on Paramount+. 3 Kim Possible
Kim Possible is just your average high school cheerleader who happens to save the world from evil villains in her spare time. She makes high school and fighting crime look
so simple and like so much fun, even if you can’t relate. With a crew including her clumsy best friend and a potential love interest in Ron stoppable, there is nothing that Team Possible can’t overcome, including the mad scientist and super villain duo that Kim Possible must face as her evil nemeses. Watch Kim Possible, rated TV-G, on Disney+. 4 The Magic School Bus
Join Ms. Frizzle, the eccentric teacher, as she leads her classroom on major adventures with her magic school bus. Not only is the series super educational, but it will make your kids want a teacher just as great as Ms. Frizzle (voiced by legendary actor Lily Tomlin).
Magic School Bus is based on the beloved books series of the same name, so you can hop over to your local library to pick up these great reads after your kids are already hooked on the show. Watch The Magic School Bus, rated TV-Y, on Netflix. 5 The Magic School Bus Rides Again
Magic School Bus reboot is true to the original series — even down to the fact that Lily Tomlin returns as the voice of Ms. Frizzle. Cheery, absurd and absurdly educational — at least, as much as a TV show can be — this is quite possibly the quintessential show about school. Watch The Magic School Bus Rides Again on Netflix. 6 Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide
Ned Bigby shares all of his expert tips and tricks for surviving middle school with the rest of the world. If there is any problem that you might have with school, Ned certainly can help. With friends like Jennifer "Moze" Mosely, and Simon "Cookie" Nelson-Cook along for the bumpy ride through seventh grade, Ned learns how to navigate the tricky halls of junior high school. He tackles topics like popularity and getting good grades with humor, genuineness, and good fun. You’ll root for this spectacled underdog as he tries to figure out who kissed his name on the mystery “hottie list” in the bathroom, and when he tries to finagle himself into the coveted cool kids’ table at the cafeteria.
Watch Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, rated TV-G, on Netflix. 7 As Told By Ginger
Some kids would do anything to be popular, and Ginger’s one of them. With her best buddies Dodie and Marcie by her social-climbing side, Ginger does her best to become a cool girl in the town of Shelter Shrubs City. From a lice scare to nerves about a school ski trip,
As Told By Ginger offers up a lovable combination of achy growing pains and plenty of heart. Watch As Told By Ginger, rated TV-Y7 on Paramount+. 8 Saved By The Bell
The popular and lovable Zack Morris is the schemer at Bayside High School. He, along with his friends, Slater, Kelly, Jessie, Lisa, and Screech, experience all that comes with being a student in this beloved sitcom from 1989. If your kids love anything vintage, then they will be obsessed with this show. Just look at the size of their phones!
Watch Saved By The Bell, rated TV-G, on Hulu. 9 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Fresh Prince may have felt, well, fresh when you first watched it, but your kids will probably appreciate it mostly as a vintage relic. That said, it offers fun and heart-warming escapism and makes for a great after-school watch. Watch The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, rated TV-G, on HBO Max. 10 Boy Meets World
Watch as Cory Matthews, his friends, family members, and long time school crush, Topanga, grow up and face a number of relatable problems in this beloved sitcom from the ‘90s. Starring Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel,
Boy Meets World is like opening up the brain of a typical preteen and watching all the contents tumble out. Big brother, Eric, and cool friend, Shawn, round out the cast that orbit an average kid figuring out who he is with the help of his loyal childhood buddies, supportive parents, and of course, his favorite classroom teacher. Watch Boy Meets World, rated TV-PG, on Disney+. 11 Hannah Montana
Miley Stewart is your average teen dealing with the woes of high school, except she has a secret — she moonlights as a pop star named Hannah Montana. Juggling between a high school outcast and world-known pop star isn’t easy, but Miley always seems to handle it in one way or another. And while moonlighting as a teen pop star isn’t too relatable, Miley nails what it’s like to rely on your friends in school. Starring Miley Cyrus in the role that first made her a star before she embarked on a sometimes scandalous singing career,
Hannah Montana will feed your fantasy of being a famous singer without having to actually dodge all of the pitfalls of celebrity. Watch Hannah Montana, rated TV-G, on Disney+. 12 A.N.T Farm
Chyna and her two friends are members of the A.N.T (Advanced Natural Talents) program, which means they’re headed straight for high school. While it might sound cool to be a musical prodigy when you’re only 11 years-old, there are plenty of obstacles in store for these gifted middle schoolers. Although the school work may be hard, and fitting in with the older students is harder, there is nothing these friends can’t tackle.
Watch A.N.T Farm, rated TV-G, on Disney+. 13 Bella and the Bulldogs
Bella Dawson is the head cheerleader at her middle school with big dreams of playing on the football team. Not only does she become the star player, but she has to learn how to navigate the tricky social structure of her middle school once she assumes her new role. Luckily Bella still has her cheer-pals Pepper and Sophie to offer advice on navigating team dynamics and standing up to a bunch of boys who aren’t so keen on a girl who will smash the status quo.
Bella and the Bulldogs offers a great TV twist on gender stereotypes, and provides a reminder that not every girl wants to be a cheerleader on the sidelines. Some are destined to be the star quarterback. Watch Bella and the Bulldogs, rated TV-G, on Netflix. 14 All Grown Up
Rugrats are now preteens in this spin-off series that focuses on the kids making their way through middle school, and dealing with adolescent issues that everyone can relate to. All your favorite characters like Tommy, Dil, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, Kimi, Angelica and Susie are back and ready to bring on the animated laughs. Stream All Grown Up, rated TV-Y7, on Paramount+. 15 High School Musical the Musical: The Series
The students of East High High School set out to put on their own production of
High School Musical, but typical school drama gets in the way of their production. Aspiring theater students, this show is for you. High School Musical: The Musical stars pop superstar, Olivia Rodrigo, as Nini Salazar-Robets, a music theater fanatic who shines like the bright star that she is in this mockumentary musical drama. This clever and entertaining series will have you laughing out loud and tapping your feet to the beat. Watch High School Musical the Musical: The Series, rated TV-PG, on Disney+. 16 Lizzie McGuire
Find out what’s going on in pre-teen Lizzie McGuire’s head in this beloved Disney Channel series. Lizzie knows how tough middle school can get, and this show chronicles all of the ups and downs that come with growing up. The show also features a cute animated version of the main character who performs monologues directly to the audience to express her inner goings-on and big feelings.
Watch Lizzie McGuire, rated TV-G, on Disney+. 17 Make It Pop
If your kid is obsessed with the K-pop group BTS, then they will definitely love this show. Follow along on the musical journey of Sun Hi, Jodi, and Corki as they rock Mackendrick Prep and study up on singing, friendship, and love.
Watch Make It Pop, rated TV-G, on Apple TV. 18 Recess
If you have a kid who would rather be outside than in the classroom, this show is for them. But just because this show is animated, doesn’t mean you should dismiss it as a juvenile cartoon.
Recess contains some pretty sophisticated and satirical undertones that grown-up viewers will appreciate. Watch Recess, rated TV-Y7, on Disney+. 19 School of Rock
Based on the awesome movie with the same name, this show focuses on a substitute teacher who inspires his students to form a secret rock band. With three jamming seasons and a super-talented cast of kids,
School of Rock is the perfect treat for anyone who wants to channel her inner musician. Because every student dreams of being in a band at some point. Watch School of Rock, rated TV-G, on Paramount+. 20 Sister, Sister
IRL twins Tia and Tamera Mowry star in the iconic, groundbreaking sister series lauded for having a predominantly Black cast. The gist: two identical twins, separated at birth, discover each other and decide to live under the same roof with their totally opposite adoptive parents.
Watch Sister, Sister, rated TV-G, on Netflix. 21 Smart Guy
T.J. Henderson is a young genius who went straight from the 4th grade into high school. The 10-year-old has an IQ of 180, speaks several languages, and even has a photographic memory. While being a child prodigy might help T.J. land on the honor roll, his advanced brain still isn’t equipped to manage the complicated social dynamics and drama of temperamental teenagers. Luckily T.J. has his older (but not necessarily wiser) big brother around to teach him how to be more cool.
Watch Smart Guy, rated TV-G, on Disney+. 22 Shake It Up
Bella Thorne and Zendaya star as talented best friends with dreams of becoming professional dancers. CeCe and Rocky are two ambitious high school students who attend class by day, and appear on the TV show Shake It Up, Chicago! at night. This show is great for any kid with an extracurricular hobby that might distract them from their everyday lives. The girls learn to balance school and their budding careers with the support of their family and friends.
Watch Shake It Up, rated TV-G, on Disney+. 23 Victorious
Victoria Justice plays the lead role in this popular TV show that takes you down the hallways of a performing arts school filled with plenty of melodrama. Your music loving, Ariana Grande-obsessed tween will love watching this series from 2010. Although it’s hard to imagine a world (even a fictional high school world) where Grande wouldn’t be the main star, it’s kind of cool to watch the mini diva-in-training before she blew up to become one of the biggest singers in the world.
Watch Victorious, rated TV-G, on Paramount+. 24 WITS Academy
Andi is the “Guardian of Students” at WITS Academy — the magic world’s most esteemed school for witches and wizards in training. She must prove that she can live up to the high expectations of being the academy’s only human Guardian. With a secret crush on a boy named Luke and a powerless witch named Ruby as her arch enemy, Andi will need all spells and potions she can get her hands on to make it through the ups and downs of this magical school. While WITS Academy might not exactly compare to the grandiosity of Hogwarts, fans of
Harry Potter books and movies are sure to enjoy this supernatural teen sitcom that is also a sequel to Every Witch Way. Watch WITS Academy, rated TV-G, on Paramount+. 25 Zoey 101
Zoey Brooks and her younger brother, Dustin, are students at Pacific Coast Academy — a super cool boarding school on the coast of California. Originally a campus that only accepted boys, everything changes when girls are allowed to enroll, and of course romance fills the Malibu air. While going to class so close to the ocean might sound like a dream come true, Zoey, her brother, and their group of friends have to deal with everyday teen issues while living at the same place they go to school. Just don’t be surprised when your kid starts asking if they can attend Pacific Coast Academy.
Watch Zoey 101, rated TV-G, on Paramount+.
While there’s probably not a single kid who is excited to get back to tests and homework, hopefully these great TV shows about heading back to school will offer your little ones some smiles, and much-needed reminders that school’s not so bad after all.
This article was originally published on
Aug. 3, 2021