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19 Back-To-School Poems To Help Your Kids Get Excited For New School Year

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 poem to get them excited for school

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“Hooray for School,” author unknown

Get on the bus and ride to school,

Learn new names, recite the rules.

Play some games and make some art,

For this school year is a brand new start.

So much to do here every day,

In this new year, we shout hooray!


An autumnal poem for animal lovers

From “The Kitten and Falling Leaves” by William Wordsworth

See the kitten on the wall, sporting with the leaves that fall,

Withered leaves—one—two—and three, from the lofty elder-tree!

Through the calm and frosty air, of this morning bright and fair . . .

—But the kitten, how she starts; Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts!

First at one, and then its fellow, just as light and just as yellow;

There are many now—now one—now they stop and there are none;

What intenseness of desire, in her upward eye of fire!

With a tiger-leap half way, now she meets the coming prey,

Lets it go as fast, and then, has it in her power again:

Now she works with three or four, like an Indian Conjuror;

Quick as he in feats of art, far beyond in joy of heart.


A poem that’s also a reminder to be kind to the substitute teacher

“Substitute” by Denise Rodgers


We heard our teacher

cannot be with us today.

Instead, we'll have a substitute.

(We'll make her earn her pay.)

Michael will throw spit wads,

and Brandon will eat chalk.

Patrick will poke David,

and all of us will talk.

We smiled and laughed with pleasure

as these thoughts filled every head,

until we found our teacher

sent the principal instead!


A (dog)gone poem about homework

“The Dog Ate My Homework” by Denise Rogers

The dog ate my homework

just like it was kibble.

He started up slow

with a cute little nibble

and then scarfed it down

with a burp and a snort.

How was he to know

that my special report

was due here this morning

precisely at 8:00.

So now it is eaten.

I'm sorry it's late.

But what can you do

when your dog needs a snack

and your stapled report

comes under attack?

I told him to stop

but he just wouldn't mind.

When my dog is hungry,

he's not very kind.

I'll bring it tomorrow,

and you'll see it then.

So long as my dog

isn't hungry again.


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

“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 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 poems about school and schoo life have something for everyone.

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