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First day of school sign and photo ideas: A milestone to remember

Hello, amazing parents! It’s that special time of year again – the start of a new school term. This momentous occasion is one of pride, excitement, and perhaps a little bit of apprehension. But don’t worry, we’re here to give you some fabulous resources to help make the day go a little more smoothly. We are sharing with you some 1st day of school signs for you to use on the day. These will give you something to remember, and hopefully become a little bit of a tradition for you all as well.

If you are looking for something a little more – try this back to school printable which gives a bit more information on your child for each year. This is another great way of keeping those memories close as your children grow. Again, there is a US and a UK version of this too.

The image is of a printable for parents to download for their children's first day of school or homeschool year.

What are first day of school signs all about anyway?

First day of school signs are more than just props for a cute photo. They’re markers of your child’s incredible journey from preschool to senior year. We’ve got signs for both a UK and a US audience for you as we know that both countries visit the site regularly.

Each new year signifies a new chapter of learning, friendships, and personal growth. Let’s not forget, these signs also serve as beautiful keepsakes to look back on in the years to come.

For our kids, the prospect of a new school year can be nerve-wracking. But these signs can turn those jitters into excitement. They make the first day of school feel like a celebration, a milestone to be proud of.

Helen is starting their first day of preschool, which is also the first year of their homeschooling journey in Year 7.

We also know that for some school isn’t the right place for them – so we have a set of these for those that are homeschooled as well. So whatever your schooling looks like, we hope that you find the sign for you.

For those with neurodivergence, change can be particularly challenging. Familiar rituals such as taking a first-day-of-school photo with a sign can provide a much-needed sense of comfort and routine.

5 first day of school photo ideas for different age groups

It can be hard to know what to do on that first day – so here we have a few ideas for you before we share the printables that we have put together for you.

In this image, a website is offering free downloadable first day of school signs for both homeschool and in-school students.

We have split these 1st day of school photo ideas down by age group, as we all know that your teen isn’t going to be as keen on some of the things that your five year old is!

For your little ones: Under 5s:

  1. The classic: Grab the printable and just go with it wherever they are!
  2. The prop shot: Feature their favourite toy or book in the photo to showcase their interests.
  3. The sibling snapshot: Let older siblings hold the sign for a heartwarming family picture: this can sometimes work wonderful IF your elder children are helpful – but it can also be a bit tense. It is always worth reading the room 😂
  4. The pet picture: Involve the family pet for an adorable twist – if you can catch them. Our puppy wouldn’t have been that great at staying in the shot. And now our cats would saunter on through if they felt like it…
  5. The comparison collage: Place last year’s photo next to this year’s for a ‘then and now’ effect. Clearly this is only really for social, BUT you can get yourself a photobook as well for them that you can build up throughout your child’s school years.
A person is playing with a dog.

For the tweens, so around under 11s

  1. The hobby highlight: Include items representing their current hobbies in the photo – it is lovely to see how things are changing as they grow up.
  2. The friend frame: Capture a shot with their best friend holding the sign together; you might find that the friend changes as they grow, or this shows their friendship changing through the years as well, which is lovely.
  3. The pyjama pic: Take a photo right after they wake up, then another ready for school to show the transformation. Might need to get permission on this one first 😂
  4. The Bus Stop Shot: Snap a picture at the bus stop for a nostalgic touch.
  5. The doorway tradition: Each year, take a photo in the same spot to truly see how they’ve grown. This one can be quite difficult to co-ordinate, but maybe have a reference point on the shot so you know exactly where they are standing from year to year.
The building has a blue door.

The younger teens, so under 16s

  1. The fashion forward: Let them flaunt their first-day outfit with the sign in hand.
  2. The extracurricular enthusiast: Include gear from their favourite after school activity in the shot – similar to the hobbiest photo when they are younger, but more focused on after school ideas, so less crochet, and more football 😂
  3. The study set-up: Take a photo of them at their study area with the sign for a more candid feel.
  4. The class schedule: Have them hold their schedule to show the favourite subjects they’re tackling that year alongside the sign.
  5. The candid camera: Capture natural moments such as them tying their shoes, packing their bag, chatting sneakily to someone, or maybe even raiding the snack cupboard (!). 😉
A young person lovingly hugs and kisses a toddler in an outdoor setting.

Under 18s

  1. The car shot: Snap a photo as they’re about to drive off to school.
  2. The locker look: Capture them at their locker for that quintessential high school image, if you are in the US. For those in the UK, the study-set up from the previous age group works well here.
  3. The cap and gown preview: Give them a taste of graduation with a cap and gown shot. This is again good for those in the US, but for those in the UK, there is no graduation, so how about a shot with you. Yes – we know it might be hard to be allowed to be in the shot 😂
  4. The future focus: Include items representing their possible post-graduation plans in the photo.
  5. The group gathering: Get a group shot with their friends for a memorable memento that all of them will cherish.
The group poses for a photo.

The first day of school is a whirlwind of emotions – anticipation, excitement, nerves. But through it all, it’s a moment to be cherished. So grab that sign, snap that photo, and here’s to an incredible school year ahead.

Give me the first day of school printables now

We know that was quite a lot of info, but we didn’t want to give you the first day of school signs without any context or ideas for you.

We aren’t going to share with you ALL the images that we have as they are pretty similar expect for the odd word here and there. These are the UK ones for the first year of schooling, homeschool, preschool, and an editable version where you can also put the child’s name in.

A child is starting their first day of preschool, excited to explore and learn new things.

We also have a sign, as above, where you don’t have to put any names in at all – it just has the first day of, followed by the relevant years:

For each of the basic designs – these are the editable ones – there is a slight difference in some of the years depending on how “annoyed” your children might get at having icons on their signs.

For the later years (Year 11, and Year 12, and 13, or Grades 11 and 12), there is a completely blank option as well.

The student in the image is starting their first day of Grade 11.

No icons. No fuss. 😂

We have the complete sets for all of the different styles for you:

  • Homeschool US and UK, both editable and plain,
  • School US and UK, both editable and plain and simple.

You can choose which ones you download below. Download them all if you aren’t sure – they are all completely free!

To download, click on the relevant version buttons below, and they are yours. Our first set of signs are for those that are homeschooling their children in both the US and the UK.

Homeschool UK

The image shows a family on the first day of homeschooling, with the parents helping their children with their studies.

Editable homeschool UK

The image depicts a family starting their first day of homeschooling with enthusiasm.

Homeschool US

The image shows a child starting their first day of homeschooling for Grade 1.

Editable homeschool US

A student is starting their first day of homeschooling for grade 1.

Our second set of printables are for those whose kids are fine in school, and so they need the first day of school signs. We have again got editable, and pain versions for you.

Phew. We realise there is a lot of choice here, so if you aren’t sure feel free to reach out to use on Twitter, or drop us a line too.

We really hope you like these ideas for back to school, if you are after more back to school printables, check these out as well on site:

Back to School with KiddyCharts

Some help with making getting back to school that little bit easier to deal with.

And more ideas from elsewhere as well:

Back to school from the internet

Here are some more back to school ideas from other sites around the world - we love them all!

Thanks as always for coming to see us – do sign up to our newsletter for more awesomeness as it happens!

Hope to see you again.

This image is promoting Kiddy Charts, a website offering free downloads for parents to help their children celebrate their first day of school or homeschool year.

Helen is a mum to two, social media consultant, and website editor; and this site is (we think) the only Social Enterprise parenting magazine! Since giving up being a business analyst when juggling travel, work and kids proved too complicated, she founded KiddyCharts so she could be with her kids, and use those grey cells at the same time. KiddyCharts has reach of over 1.1million across social and the site. The blog works with big family brands (including travel) to help promote their services, as well as offering free resources to parents of kids under 10. It gives 51%+ profits to Reverence for Life, who fund a number of important initiatives in Africa, including bringing running water and basic equipment to a school in Tanzania. Helen has worked as a digital marketing consultant (IDM qualified) with various organisations, including Channel Mum, Truprint, Talk to Mums, and Micro Scooters. She loves to be creative in the brand campaigns she works on. Get in touch TODAY!

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