little boy wearing glasses and holding a book in an article round up of back-to-school poems
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15 Back-To-School Poems To Help Your Kids Get Excited

Perfect verses to read before their first day.

Originally Published: 

The first day of school is a special time. There’s the smell of new school supplies, the fresh threads, the anticipation of a new classroom. There’s also, typically, a little apprehension and anxiety. One of the best ways to diffuse these feelings is by reminding a child that they’re not alone. And poems about the first day of school can do just that.

Each of these back-to-school poems meditates on the feelings and thrills of starting a new school year, from the fear of getting lost in the hallways to the hope of making new friends. Whether you’re looking for a simple poem for a kindergartener or one that tackles more complex emotions for an older elementary student this list has something for every new kid in class.

And you can read the poem out loud or you can print a copy for each of your pupils to study on the bus or in the car, then tuck into their backpack for later, knowing they’re not the only kid on the planet to have first-day-of-school jitters.


A “what if?” poem about the first day of school

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“The First Day of School” By Judith Viorst

Will they let me go when I need to go to the bathroom?

And what if I get lost on my way back to class?

And what if the other kids are a hundred, a thousand, times smarter than I am?

And what if we have a spelling test, or a reading test, or an...anything test, and I'm the only person who doesn't pass?

And what if my teacher decides she doesn't like me?

And what if, all of a sudden a tooth gets loose?

And what if I can't find lunch, or I sit on my lunch, or I (oops!) drop my lunch someplace like the toilet?

Will they let me starve or will somebody lend me a sandwich? A cookie? A cracker? An apple? Some juice?

And what if they say, "Do this," and I don't understand them?

And what if there's teams and nobody picks me to play?

And what if I took off my sneakers, and also my socks, and my jeans, and my sweatshirt and T-shirt,

And started the first day of school on the second day?


A funny poem about homework

“Homework” by Jack Prelutsky

Homework! Oh, Homework!

I hate you! You stink!

I wish I could wash you away in the sink,

if only a bomb

would explode you to bits.

Homework! Oh, homework!

You're giving me fits.

I'd rather take baths

with a man-eating shark,

or wrestle a lion

alone in the dark,

eat spinach and liver,

pet ten porcupines,

than tackle the homework,

my teacher assigns.

Homework! Oh, homework!

you're last on my list,

I simple can't see

why you even exist,

if you just disappeared

it would tickle me pink.

Homework! Oh, homework!

I hate you! You stink!


A poem about pretending to be sick

“Sick” by Shel Silverstein

"I cannot go to school today!"

Said little Peggy Ann McKay

"I have the measles and the mumps

A gash, a rash, and purple bumps

My mouth is wet, my throat is dry

I'm going blind in my right eye

My tonsils are as big as rocks

I've counted sixteen chicken pox

And there's one more, that's seventeen

And don't you think my face looks green?

My leg is cut, my eyes are blue

It might be instamatic flu

I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke

I'm sure that my left leg is broke

My hip hurts when I move my chin

My belly button's caving in

My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained

My 'pendix pains each time it rains

My nose is cold, my toes are numb

I have a sliver in my thumb

My neck is stiff, my spine is weak

I hardly whisper when I speak

My tongue is filling up my mouth

I think my hair is falling out

My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight

My temperature is 108

My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear

There's a hole inside my ear

I have a hangnail, and my heart is... what?

What's that? What's that you say?

You say today is Saturday? Ha-ha

G'bye, I'm goin' out to play"


A poem about adjusting to a new schedule

‘Getting Dressed For School” by Kenn Nesbitt

I must have been too sleepy

getting dressed for school today.

I tried to tuck my shirt in,

but I couldn’t make it stay. I also couldn’t tie my shoes.

I fumbled with the laces.

I snagged my scarf, and now some yarn

is dangling from my braces.

My socks are different colours,

and my trousers inside out.

My sweater from the hamper left me

smelling like a trout.

I thought I put a hat on

to control my crazy hair.

The hat turned out to be a pair

of purple underwear.

I spilled my breakfast on my clothes

and headed into school.

My friends, of course, were all impressed.

I’d never looked so cool.


A poem about missing mom and more

“First Day of School” by Roger McGough

A millionbillionwillion miles from home

Waiting for the bell to go. (To go where?)

Why are they all so big, other children?

So noisy? So much at home they

Must have been born in uniform

Lived all their lives in playgrounds

Spent the years inventing games

That don't let me in. Games

That are rough, that swallow you up.

And the railings.

All around, the railings.

Are they to keep out wolves and monsters?

Things that carry off and eat children?

Things you don't take sweets from?

Perhaps they're to stop us getting out

Running away from the lessins. Lessin.

What does a lessin look like?

Sounds small and slimy.

They keep them in the glassrooms.

Whole rooms made out of glass. Imagine.

I wish I could remember my name

Mummy said it would come in useful.

Like wellies. When there's puddles.

Yellow wellies. I wish she was here.

I think my name is sewn on somewhere

Perhaps the teacher will read it for me.

Tea-cher. The one who makes the tea.


A poem about that September feeling

“September is Here” by Lenore Hetrick

School bells ringing in the morning,

Little girls in fresh print gowns.

Little boys playing together

Some acting like wild circus clowns.

From the trees the red leaves falling,

Wild geese flying overhead,

The squirrels hiding countless nuts

In their secret, wintry bed.

All these signs point just on way,

Their meaning to the world is clear.

September, first month of autumn,

Once again is reigning here.


On being a good classmate

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“I Can Be A Pal” by Kristen Smith

I can Be a Pal

I can be a pal by smiling at you.

I can be a pal when you feel blue.

I can be a pal who is honest and kind.

I can be a pal when you’re in a bind.

I can be a pal by saying please and thank you.

I can be a pal when no one wants to.

I can be a pal every single day.

I can be a pal, what do you say?


A short, happy poem

Author Unknown

Today I hurry off to school,

To work and learn and play

I’m in a brand new grade this year,

What a happy day!


A poem about being brave on your first day

“First Day of School” by Ruth Donnelly

I’ve got a brand new lunchbox,

My shoes are shiny clean.

I’ve got a cool new bookbag,

And a pencil box that’s green.

But I don’t know my teacher

Or where my desk will be

I don’t know if I’ll like the kids

Or if they’ll play with me.

I peek inside my classroom

I stand there for a while

My teacher’s tall and kind of loud

But has a great big smile

And, best of all, she’s got my

Favorite book on the shelf.

I kiss my mother at the door

And walk in by myself.


A poem about gearing up to go back

“Cleaning House in My Brain” by Kalli Dakos

I’m cleaning house In my brain,

It’s BACK TO SCHOOL Time again.

Shine windows, Paint doors, Vacuum rugs, Polish floors.

Brush away TV shows,

Picnics, beaches, Free time goes.

Bring my memory Back in gear,

Sweep the channels, Crystal clear.

My brain is An amazing tool,

And it’s all ready for BACK TO SCHOOL


All the thrills of a new school year

“Two More Days til School” by Leslie Kimmelman

I'm finally going to school this year,

and now the big day's almost here.

I'll learn to write and count and read--

Only two more days till school.

I got new pants and shirts and socks,

a brand-new red and blue lunch box;

I'll paint and sing and dance and play--

Only one more day till school.

My hair is washed, my sneakers squeak,

I'm so excited, I can hardly speak!

New things to do, new friends to meet--

Hooray! It's the first day of school!


A simple poem about liking school

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“I Like School” by Lenore Hetrick

I like to hear the school bell ring,

And see the children get in line.

Then we go marching past the teacher,

And pass so tall and straight and fine.

I like to sing the morning song,

And give the pledge to our dear flag.

There are so many things I like,

That time I find can never lag.


A poem about what you did on summer vacation

“Back to School!” by Sara Holbrook

I’ve rewatched every rerun.

I have no skin on my knees.

I’ve had it with the crickets,

The sunburn, and the bees.

I hiked around the woods

And got peed on by a tree toad.

My neighbor took me fishing.

I got gang jumped by mosquitoes.

I’ve been bitten, scorched, and stung,

And the ball field is a sneeze.

My controller went on strike, and

I’m bouncing off the trees.

Days, no longer long,

Whisper time to move along.

School is calling, no use stalling.

Fall is falling, and it

Cannot be ignored.

Should I follow?

Might as well.

I’m pretty bored.


A poem about daily life at school

“School Life” by Cheryl Theseira

School is a daily routine for us.

In the morning, we're sure to make a fuss.

Even when the sun is still not up,

Here we are, awake at 6am sharp.

We feel that school is such a bore.

We feel that school is such a chore.

Parents say, "School's great! Now, go!"

We say, "Well, what do you know?"

Late a minute and we have to run.

Eyes half open, shoelaces undone.

We reach school and we see our friends.

Immediately, the torture ends.

We have a chat and go with the flow.

Then the bell rings; it is time to go.

We may at times find school stressful.

To have some fun, we have to bend some rules.

Talk back to teachers, and detention we serve

No doubt, it is sometimes what we deserve.

Sometimes they are as cold as ice,

And other times they're actually really nice.

They teach us and give us a helping hand.

They're forever ready to listen and be a friend.

They have built much confidence in us.

Just not when they are being really harsh.

Over the years of education,

Never have we had so much learning with action,

Such as camps, experiments, concerts, and activities.

We've learned so much and even saved the trees.

A wise teacher once said aloud -

Success is failure turned inside out,

So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit.

Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Some may see school as a torture chamber.

Some cannot wait for the holidays in December,

But it depends on how we look at school.

Honestly, positively, school is cool!


A poem about the excitement of that first day of school

“Back to School” by Rachel K.

Pencils, glue, paper, and books,

My backpack is filled up to the top!

I grab my lunch and gym shoes,

And make my way to the bus stop.

I get to school and walk in,

Walls are decorated, it’s cool!

I find my desk with my name,

I am ready for back to school!

Whether you read these at the breakfast table to gear up for the first day of school, or memorize them over the summer, these powerful, fun, playful back-to-school poems have something for everyone.

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