Back to School at Any Age

September 4, 2015 | Suzanne

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Back to school already
With permission from Melissa Machan at First Grade Smiles

It's getting darker earlier, the calendar says September, and the dreaded – err, I mean, very welcome first day of school is near. Children, teens and adults everywhere are getting ready for the return to the classroom. Adults may be going back to school, kindergartners are starting school for the first time, and teens may be preparing for their first day of high school. Usually this day brings about a familiar mix of nervousness and excitement. For newcomers to Canada, starting school for the first time may also mean familiarizing yourself with a new city, brushing up on your English skills, and finding ways to ease the transition into school, no matter what your age. Visit your local library for some helpful ways to ease the transition!

Library staff prepare for going back to school


We hope our children will have a love of reading right from the start, but if they need a little nudge in the right direction, the library is here to help. Why not try some of these suggested reads for the reluctant reader from a recent post on the Growing a Reader blog? Or how about this great selection of picture books about going back to school? A great story about the experience of going back to school can be the boost a child needs to feel ready for his or her first day. 

For the school age child, a number of branches have After School Clubs, catering to a variety of interests from Lego to scienceAfter School Clubs offer children the chance to explore their interests outside of the classroom, and enhance their learning with creative exploration. Visit your local branch to find out about an After School Club near you! Finally, don’t forget to explore KidsSpace, the library’s website for kids. Get help with research, find your next book, play games, and much more!

 Children using library computer    Science Afterschool Club at Fort York Library
Kids using a library computer; Kids at the Fort York Library having fun with science


The library has a number of free programs and services for teens.  Need a place to unwind and meet other teens? Why not join a Youth Advisory Group?  Youth Advisory Group members earn volunteer hours, meet other teens and contribute to library services and programs. Help improve library services for teens while having fun at the same time! There are also Youth Hubs and Homework Help for Teens available at select branches. Keep up to date on what we have to offer teens on the TPL Teens blog.

Read some of our other blog posts for teens: Afterschool Youth Hubs; Newcomer Youth – Welcome to the library!

Teens at the library
Teens doing homework at the library


For the adult learner going back to school, the library subscribes to a wide range of online services, including article databases, business directories, and practice tests. You can explore our databases and research tools by topic or check out this list of the most popular research tools. The Book a Librarian service is another helpful tool. Make a free 30-60 minute appointment with a librarian at select branches. The librarian can help you with research, library information, career information, homework help and more.

Are you are a newcomer looking for ESL Classes or Newcomer services? The library provides these services for free at a number of branches throughout the city. Another great resource for adults is the Adult Literacy Program. This program offers free, one-on-one tutoring in basic reading, writing and math for English-speaking adults 16 years or older. Volunteer tutors work with learners to help them reach their literacy goals. There are ten literacy offices in libraries across Toronto.

Whether you are 5 or 75, going back to school is a time for new beginnings and the chance to grow. Learn, grow, and let the Toronto Public Library help you make the transition back to any age!