20 Back to School Quotes to Inspire Your Kids

Some kids in a classroom.

Back to school time can be both difficult and exciting, for parents and kids alike. Children aren’t always ready for their vacation to end, but the start of another school year is all about new beginnings. Plenty of fun opportunities for learning and growth await your kids in the new year, so all you need to do is remind them! There are many jobs to do during the back to school period, from hiring nannies to gathering school supplies. With so much to do, coming up with ways to get the kids excited about learning can be an extra task you don’t need. 

One easy way to get children ready for the new school year is by sharing a few inspirational back-to-school quotes with them. Here, we’ve gathered some of the best to save time for busy parents and carers. Whether they’re starting kindergarten or high school, every student can benefit from a little extra motivation. You can use these catchy and funny quotes to remind them that the new school year brings many amazing things, with a simple note in the lunchbox. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite motivational back to school sayings and famous quotes about school. From a range of famous faces including actresses and activists come many powerful nuggets of truth, which you can share with your children. Armed with these fantastically inspirational messages, getting the kids excited about the first day of school is easier than ever. 

1. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss was an American author beloved by generations of children, as his witty and hilarious poetry appeals to all age groups. This catchy phrase is fun enough to appeal to young children, so it’s an ideal first day of kindergarten quote. However, every student can use a reminder that they steer their own future, as they have the tools to learn and do anything. This inspirational quote is perfect for any back to school occasion, so why not hang it on the fridge for the first week of the new school year. 

2. “Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom.” – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah’s story inspires hundreds every day across America, as her journey from poverty to incredible success is known throughout the nation. Her undeniable leadership skills, inspirational ideologies, and many enterprises in various industries show just how much we have to learn from Oprah Winfrey. This quote is the perfect back to school inspiration to teach your kids that the education they receive now paves the way for opportunities in the future. With sturdy determination and the right work ethic, they could be the next mind-blowing example of the American Dream in action. 

3. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Who better to impress the importance of education to your children than a long-adored First Lady and United Nations Delegate. Eleanor Roosevelt made incredible contributions to global human rights campaigns and often spoke out on civil rights issues even when she was in disagreement with the President. Her beautiful quote is a fundamental truth, as those with the biggest aspirations have always been the ones to change the world. This universally-respected figure encourages your kids to follow their dreams in this inspiring back-to-school reminder, as they will lead us into the future. 

4. “Let us remember; One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

The story of Malala Yousafzai rocked the world in October 2012, and her following journey can provoke in us all a realization of the vitality of education. Girls were banned to attend school in Malala’s home country of Pakistan, but at age X she was becoming a prominent activist for equal education rights. Shock at what happened to Malala spread around the world when she and two other girls were targeted while on a bus. She suffered a bullet to the head, and while fighting for her life in hospital, support for her cause grew. 

Malala Yousafzai survived the attempt on her life and continues to fight for equal access to education to this day. In this passage (which is the perfect first day of school quote) Malala drives home a message that every schoolchild in the world needs to hear; that the privilege of education is something to be fought for, not against, as it can enable us to bring about great change. 

5. “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” – Oscar Wilde 

This happy back to school quote is simple and to the point. Older kids who might begin to read Oscar Wilde’s work will appreciate this witty reminder that every day their knowledge is growing. The Irish novelist is often included in high school curriculums, particularly the famous Picture of Dorian Gray. Although the themes of this novel, and other of Wilde’s work, can be more mature than is appropriate for younger children, high school students have long studied his writing. Regardless, this quote is a funny quip to remind kids of any age to give the most to each day. 

Having some inspiring quotes for your kid can help them get motivated before going back to school.

6. “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” – Steve Martin

Many kids today missed out on growing up with the pure hilarity of Steve Martin’s movies, but they can still benefit from his excellent advice. In a blog post about how to become a famous comedian, Steve inspires his readers to strive for the best, as that is a sure way to succeed. Share this quote with your children for their first day back at school to help them remember that if they work hard, they can achieve their dreams. 

7. “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” – Albert Einstein

This quote from the smartest man who ever lived might need a little interpretation for your kids, but the message is incredibly important. The takeaway is not that lessons and learning are irrelevant, it’s that they allow you to build and pursue your own passions later on. By inspiring your kids to care about their general education, you’ll give them a much better foundation to develop other interests. 

8. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

From a historical icon of global change comes this forcefully inspiring quote, so it’s assumed that the words stem from a place of true knowledge. No one else could offer better advice when it comes to changing the world, and to Nelson Mandela, education was everything. This statement speaks veracious volumes, powerfully inspiring your kids to uphold their own education. Everyone involved in shaping young minds, teachers, and students, is affecting the future of all humanity.

9. “I’m not going to school just for the academics. I wanted to share ideas, to be around people who are passionate about learning.” – Emma Watson

This is the perfect back to school motivation for any fan of the Harry Potter series, as movie star Emma Watson shares an inspiring quote about her views on education. Use this lunchbox message to tell your kids that school doesn’t need to be a chore; it’s actually a great time to enjoy being around others who are learning. Together, a class of school children grows into the adults who lead our future, and it starts with the ideas they share now. 

10. “Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.” – Conan O’Brien

As the host of various late-night TV shows and the star of many hilarious comedy specials, Conan O’Brien can be a pretty inspirational figure for young people. Conan said these words on his final episode of the Tonight Show, and in doing so reminded everyone of the two most important truths in life. Everyone, from new students to retirees, can benefit from hearing this advice and applying it to their everyday life. 

11. “Take your risks now. As you grow older, you become more fearful and less flexible.” – Amy Poehler

The comical star of Park and Recreation Amy Poehler provides a perfect back-to-school quote to share with kids of any age. Use this inspiration to remind your children that now is the time to try that new sport, take up a musical instrument, or even just go out and make new friends. Their minds will never be as malleable and ready to learn about the world, so don’t waste time in encouraging kids to apply themselves fully to everything they do. 

12. “This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.” – Taylor Swift

Pop superstar Taylor Swift shot to monumental fame and success at only 15, so who better to inspire your kids on their first day back at school. Some young people can be apprehensive at the beginning of a new semester, but a few words from this singer can help them be more optimistic. Life goes so fast in school years, and change is constant, so there are always better things on the horizon. 

13. “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” – John Dewey

As almost the polar opposite of our previously quoted figure, your kids might have no idea who John Dewey is. However, the impact he had on their education is life-changing. As a ground-breaking philosopher and psychologist, he was a leader in American educational reform. Much of the modern system’s success is down to his progressive ideas, all because of his pure belief in this truly apt motivational quote. Remind your schoolchildren of any change that the meaning of life really is learning. 

14. “Intelligence plus character-that is the true goal of education.” – Martin Luther King Jr. 

Martin Luther King Jr. was a supremely influential figure in United States history, at the head of social activism and civil rights movements of great importance. Because of this, he is an ideal role model for many of today’s young people, and many of his speeches and sayings can inspire your kids to strive for better in school. This quote is another excellent pointer to the real reason they’re going back to class; to build a better foundation for their future success. 

Inspiring quotes can also be associated with role models, which are important for kids.

15. “I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.” – Lily Tomlin

Often, school children can under-appreciate the efforts of their teachers. The people who dedicate their lives to educating the leaders of the future deserve a lot more thanks than they get. In particular, those special individuals who really go the extra mile to make a difference to each child’s day can often go without recognition. Lily Tomlin points out that the true value of teaching is how you apply it after your assignments are finished in this inspirational first day of school quote. 

16. “The difference between try and triumph is a little umph.” – Marvin Phillips

If your kids need inspiration from someone they might see as a little cooler than bookish historical figures, why not use this printable quote from American basketball legend Marvin Phillips. This witty back to school quote is both funny and true and can spur on kids in any grade to summon that extra bit of effort. All it takes is a dedication to learning, and triumph will soon follow. Remind your kids over breakfast to sprinkle a little “umph” in their day, and a victory in learning will be right around the corner. 

17. “Dreams come a size too big so that we can grow into them.” – Josie Bisset

This simply happy back to school quote from Josie Bisset is a cheerful expression, perfect to tell your kids that no dream is too remote. Even when their aspirations seem so far away, they have no idea the person they will grow into. For many young people, it can be a true challenge to see the end goal of their education without being distracted by the seeming endlessness of education. Reminding them of the reason behind it, and the things they could achieve afterward, is a great way to motivate them now. 

18. “I’ve always loved the first day of school better than the last day of school. Firsts are the best because they are beginnings.” – Jenny Han

The older a student gets, the more likely they are to look forward to the last day of school and be less excited about the first. In this inspiring quote, the New York Times bestseller Jenny Han points out that the first day of a new school year brings so many new opportunities and experiences. By getting pumped up for new beginnings, until counting down to vacation time, your kids will have a more enriching education. 

19. “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” – Richard Branson

Richard Branson is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time, and his famous quote about school is an ideal choice to share with your kids. From him, they can learn that even the biggest challenges can be overcome if you don’t let setbacks stop you. Failure is an unavoidable part of learning and growing, it’s trying again afterward that’s important. When your kids face difficulties in their education, it’s important for them to know that struggling isn’t wrong. It’s all about the amount of effort they make to succeed, and this inspiring quote could be just what they need to hear. 

20. “The man who does not read books has no advantage over the man who can not read them.” – Mark Twain

Our final quote, from the creator of beloved children’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, draws attention to the value of not only going to school but using what you learn. The advantage of education is massive, and many kids around the world don’t have the same access to learning. This hard-hitting quote can inspire your kids to put full effort into using their education, as that is the only way to be thankful for the advantage. 

How to Inspire Your Kids on Their First Day Back at School

For children and young people, education can be a daunting prospect. After all, it takes a lot of effort and dedication to apply yourself every single day, but young minds need the information to develop and grow. All of these quotes can inspire and provoke deep motivation in your kids, and encourage them to enjoy their learning to the very fullest. From influential political figures to world-famous pop stars, many well-known figures offer great advice for your kids. 

Each one of these quotes about school is easily printable, so you could display it where your kids will see. Alternatively, a written note in a lunchbox with a few words of encouragement would be the ideal surprise to remind schoolkids to work a bit harder in the afternoon. There are so many ways to get kids excited about education, and it’s a vital mission if you want them to succeed. Building love and respect for learning will shape the entire future of a young person, so getting them to see it in a positive light from a young age can have an impact which lasts a lifetime. 

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