The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn

            Chester was about to begin his first day of school and he was scared.  See how his mother helps him to overcome his fears in a gentle loving way.


  • Lots of small pre-cut hearts
  • Manila file


  • Raccoon (A small ring-tailed animal that sleeps during the day and comes out at night)
  • Nocturnal (All animals that sleep mostly during the day and come out at night to eat and play)

Before Reading the Story

            If this is the first week of school you can introduce the book by saying you know it feels kind of scary right now at school. But you will soon have lots of new friends.  Talk about things that you will be doing at school in the near future (later we will get to go out on the playground and ride the bicycles, after breakfast we can get out play dough).  Tell the children that they are all being very brave and that it will be ok.  Let them know that you are there to make them feel safe and to have fun.

Social & Emotional Development/Social Relationships; demonstrates increasing comfort in talking with and accepting guidance and directions from a range of familiar adults.

            If you are reading this book at any other time, talk about how sometimes we do things that feel scary but after we do them we know that it was not so hard.  Ask the children to try to think of examples (I rode my bike with no trainer wheels and I fell, I climbed to the top of the big slide, I ate that food on my plate, I slept in the room all by myself).  Tell the children each time that they were brave.

Social & Emotional Development/Self-Concept; demonstrates growing confidence in a range of abilities and expresses pride in accomplishments.

Reading the Story

            On the page where Chester’s Mother shows him what a kissing hand is, stop and kiss your own hand and then when she tells him how to rub it on his cheek, do on yours. Encourage the children to follow your example.

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; demonstrates increasing ability to attend to and understand conversations, stories, songs, and poems.

After Reading the Story

            Turn to the last page with all the animals in the tree.  Tell the children that this is Chester’s school, have you ever seen a school like this?  Ask them if they can tell what time it is?  Can you name some of the nocturnal animals in the picture? 

Science/Scientific Knowledge; develops a growing awareness of ideas and language related to the attribute of time and temperature.


            In the story, Chester used his mouth for kissing his mother’s hand.  What other things do we use our mouth for?  Put mirrors in the center so the children can look at their mouths.  Help the children name the parts of the mouth (teeth, gum, tongue, lips)? 

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to use senses and a variety of tools and simple measuring devices to gather information, investigate materials, and observe processes and relationships. AND Language & Development/Speaking & Communicating; uses an increasingly complex and varied spoken language.

Music and Movement

Teach the children the song, I’m Thinking of a Name.  On individual pieces of paper, write each child’s name.  Hold up one name at a time and cover all but the first letter of the name with another piece of paper.

I’m Thinking of a Name (sung to All Around the Mulberry Bush)

I’m thinking of a name that starts with _____,

Starts with _______, Starts with ________.

I’m thinking of a name that starts with _____.

Do you know the name?

(slowly pull the paper across the letters to reveal the name.  As you pull, pronounce the letter sounds as you go)

Literacy/Early Writing; develops an understanding that writing is a way of communicating for a variety of purposes. AND Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; increases ability to notice the beginning letters of familiar words.


Make markings on the shelves to show the children how to put the blocks away neatly. Explain that when Chester, and they, were new at school, they also had to learn where and how to put the toys away. Encourage the children to pull out the blocks and carefully put them back according to their shapes and sizes.

Literacy/Early Writing; develops an understanding that writing is a way of communicating for a variety of purposes. AND Mathematics/’Geometry & Spatial Sense; shows growth in matching, sorting, putting in series, and regrouping objects according to one or two attributes such as shape or size.


            Let the children use stamp pads and make handprints onto a large piece of paper.  Cut out hearts that they can then glue to the palm of each hand.  Older children can trace around a heart shape and cut it out themselves. Label the pictures ‘The heart is you.  The hand is me.  It says I love my family”.  Have the children look carefully at their hand print.  Note the lines and patterns that make up your hand print.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; develops growing strength, dexterity, and control needed to use tools such as scissors, paper punch, stapler, and hammer. AND Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; develops increased ability to observe and discuss common properties, differences and comparisons, and form generalizations.

Sand and Water

            Dampened sand.  Show the children how to make sand castles and hand prints in the damp sand.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; develops growing strength, dexterity, and control needed to use tools such as scissors, paper punch, stapler, and hammer.

Library and Writing

            On a manila file cut out a heart shape.  The children can then trace around the heart, cut it out and write their name on it.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; develops growing strength, dexterity, and control needed to use tools such as scissors, paper punch, stapler, and hammer. AND Literacy/Early Writing; progresses from scribbles, shapes, or pictures to represent ideas, to using letter-like symbols, to copying or writing familiar words such as their own name.

Dramatic Play

            Bring in ‘school supplies’ (pencils, paper, lunchbox, book sack, three ring binder). Encourage the children to play school and to do writing.

Literacy/Early Writing; experiments with a growing variety of writing tools and materials, such as pencils, crayons, and computers.

Math and Manipulatives

            On a piece of paper write each child’s name.  Cut out many small hearts from construction paper.  Ask the children to glue a heart underneath each letter of their name.  Ask the children to count their hearts to see how many letters are in their name.  You can graph these on the wall by the number of letters in each child’s name.  Who has the least, which has the most?

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; shows progress in understanding and following simple and multiple-step directions. AND Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways.

Outdoor Play

            Tell the children to pretend that they are walking to school.  Can you walk very fast?  Can you walk backwards, in a curved line, zigzag line, on your tiptoes?  Can you skip to school or gallop?

Physical Health & Development/Gross Motor Skills;shows increased levels of proficiency, control, and balance in walking, climbing, running, jumping, hopping, skipping, marching, and galloping.


Play I’m Thinking of a Child. Say I’m thinking of a child who has red hair and is wearing yoga pants and a T-shirt with letters on it. Let the children guess. If the children are just learning names, you could say,”Yes, I was thinking og Jenny”.

Social & Emotional Development/Social Relationships; shows progress in developing friendships with peers.


Shelves are labeled to keep blocks neat and in order.
About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.