Squirmy’s First Day At School
Pearl Mascarenhas D’Silva
Valores asociados: self-esteem , kindness, love and understanding, cooperation and mutual help, respect for diversity, compassion


The first day of school is an eventful, yet crucial milestone in a young child’s life. This story acknowledges and examines a young one’s anxiety as he prepares to go to school for the first time. It also could be used to elicit important values such as kindness to one another and empathy towards others. Apart from this, the early childhood educator or parent could use this story to help a young child rationalise its fears and channelize them into fruitful and meaningful endeavours.

Children can also be encouraged to participate in the music and movement component of the story through the little rhyme/song at the end. (a music file is attached along with this story to facilitate the tune). This will help to make the story and the messages through the story more relevant to the child.

Squirmy, the 100-legged worm

“Oh, do stay still, Squirmy Wormy!” sighed Mommy Cents. “It’s almost impossible to get all your hundred shoes on when you squirm so!” Squirmy wriggled and wailed, “Please let me stay home with you, Mommy”. Two huge drops of tears ran all the way down Squirmy Wormy’s spindly little legs and landed with a big SPLOINK on the ground. “I don’t want to go to school. I promise I’ll be good, Mommy.” “Squirmy Wormy,” said Mommy Cents firmly, “Centipede School is a must for all little centipedes.”“Just like Twirmy and I” said Gwirmy, Squirmy’s sister. “Bye, Gwirmy! Now don’t forget the trick I showed you to subtract numbers from 100” said Mommy Cents as she waved them goodbye. “I won’t, Mommy! We are so lucky to have 100 legs to help us with sums, aren’t we Mommy?” said Gwirmy as she kissed her mother goodbye.

“Mommmmyyyyyy! Twirmy told me about Monsterwimy. He eats up little centipedes who don’t share their lunches with him. I don’t want to be eaten up!” “Owwwww! My leg hurts!” yelped Squirmy and squirmed some more. “Squirmy darling, can you wiggle the leg that hurts you just a little bit so that Mommy can check it? Oh dear, I am quite sure I bought you just the number of shoes that you needed. Why is this one still with me then?” said Mommy Cents as she held up a little green shoe. “Hmm, the only thing I can do now is count them all!

1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8…9…10…15…20…25…30…35…40…45…50…55…60…65…70…75…80…85…90…95…99! Oh my goodness!” exclaimed Mommy Cents in dismay, “whatever has happened to your 100th leg?” Squirmy looked very upset indeed. He was afraid that the other centipedes at school would have a great laugh if they found out that he had only 99 legs!

Mommy Cents gathered Squirmy Wormy and kissed him saying, “Oh, don’t worry, darling. I will go with you now to school and explain to your teacher. Come along now or we shall be late!” So, Squirmy Wormy and Mommy Cents left their cosy little home under the big-leafed plants and walked towards Centipede School. Suddenly, the earth shook and Squirmy huddled up to Mommy Cents. “What’s that, Mommy?” But before Mommy Cents could answer him, little Squirmy was lifted high up into the air. He twisted and wiggled around until he found himself looking straight into a pair of big brown eyes. “HELP... Mommy!!” yelled Squirmy.

Just then he heard a kind voice saying, ““Oh you poor dear! One of your little legs has been squeezed into a shoe with another leg! That must be so painful. Here, let me help you. Do stay still, little centipede.” Squirmy stayed still as a little girl slowly eased the leg that hurt him from the shoe. “There you go, little centipede. I have to go now,” said the little girl as she skipped away. “Was that the queen of Centipedes, Mommy?” “Oh no, darling. That was a little girl who was on her way to school too. Wasn’t it kind of her to help you?” remarked Mommy Cents happily as she helped Squirmy into his 100th green shoe. “Yes,” said Squirmy thoughtfully, “perhaps I will find someone I can help at school too.” “That’s right, darling. It’s a good thing to help someone in need and look after them,” said Mommy Cents. “What can a little centipede like me do to help, Mommy?” asked Squirmy. “Well, you could be a good friend to the other little centipedes,” said Mommy Cents, “or perhaps help your teacher in school.” “I know! I know what I can do!” squealed a very excited Squirmy, “I will look after all the little centipedes who miss their mommies when they are at school! Squirmy wiggled happily to school and sang his favourite song...

Said the hundred-legged worm as it gave a little squirm
Have you seen that leg of mine?
If it can’t be found, then I’d have to hop around
On the other ninety-nine…
Hop around…hop around
Hop around on ninety-nine
Hop around…hop around
Hop around on ninety-nine.

About Pearl Mascarenhas D’Silva:
Postgraduate Diploma in Education Management - 2007
Masters of Science. (Human Development) - 2004
Postgraduate Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education - 2002
Bachelor of Arts (Psychology-Anthropology) - 2001

Academic Manager
New Zealand Tertiary College India (NZTC) August 2009- till date

Early Childhood Education Consultant
New Zealand Tertiary College January 2008- August 2009

Impetus August 2007
Designed and developed a comprehensive workshop module on ‘Six Thinking Hats in the Classroom’ for Impetus, a privately owned organization catering to teacher education

Primary Teacher
Singapore International School, Mumbai March 2007- August 2007

Teacher Educator
Kangaroo Kids institute For Teacher Development and Research (a sub-division of Kangaroo Kids Education Limited). July 2004- March 2007


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