Classroom Solutions > Sharon Taylor > Planning for the First Day of Kindergarten

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Planning for the First Day of Kindergarten

Welcome to school
 
The first day of kindergarten can be both exciting and frightening for students, parents, and the teacher too. There are mixed emotions everywhere as this day marks a huge milestone in the child's life. As teachers, we need to incorporate ideas to help ease first day jitters and start the school year off on the right track. Here are a few tips to help you plan for the first day of kindergarten.

 

Planning for the Teacher

Create a Teacher Checklist

 
Plan! Plan! Plan! When planning for the first day of kindergarten keep in mind that many students have never been in a school setting. Have your first day planned from the moment the first child enters your classroom to the time you wave goodbye to those bright eyes glancing back at you. You will have to teach things like walking in a line, sitting on the carpet, and eating without feeding the floor. It is important to have a procedure in place for everything. Remember that it is always best to over prepare! Take a look at this sample lesson plan created by the kindergarten team at my school.

Create several copies of your teach roster. On my roster I include important information such as, child's name, date of birth, parent number, type of transportation at dismissal and parent's email.  Try out the template I created for my classroom roster

 

DSC_0771 When planning for the first day of kindergarten you will need to create name tags for students which include child's full name and teacher's name. This year I created a template for my classroom name tags and printed them on cardstock. I laminated the cardstock and connected inexpensive badge clips to them.

 

All instructional material such as pencils, crayons, and scissors should be ready to use. I do guided discovery before allowing students to use any material.

I suggest making a to-do list to keep track of everything such as the Must-Do List created by Scholastic for busy teachers like you. 

Planning for Students

Getting Acquainted

According to Paula Denton, author of The First Six Weeks of School, the focus of the first weeks of school should be upon getting to know each other and the routines and layout of the school.

Check out some activities I use to incorporate this theory.

  • I use various songs, chants, and games to help students begin the community building process on day one. I begin my incorporating activities that help students learn each other's name.  Check out What's In a Name? for a list of nursery rhymes that you can use to help students learn the names of their classmates.
  •  Students need to get acquainted with the routines of the school and classroom.  Routines help give students a feeling of security. This may take weeks to establish, but once mastered, they will save both teachers and students time and energy for more important things. 

Take a look at these two excellent resources by Scholastic that will help you teach routines for every aspect of a student's day.

  Classroom Routines That Really Work for Pre-K and Kindergarten  Routines2

 

Routines  Teaching Effective Classroom Routines

 

 

 

 

  Getting Students Acquainted With the Layout of Your School

    

2011 class 0092011 class 007 Get your students familiar with their new surroundings by taking them on a tour. School tours are a great way to help students have fun while exploring the school. This year my class went on a hunt to find the Gingerbread Man. View  The Gingerbread Man Hunt for a description of this activity.

2011 class 063

 

 

 

Back to school books Back-to-School Books

  • You can make the first day of school a little less stressful with a few good back-to-school books. Many of these books consist of characters that are experiencing jitters that are similar to those of your little ones. These books help students to relate to other children's experiences.

Here are just some of my favorites!

 

Planning for Parents2011 class 051

The first day of kindergarten can give parents nightmares. It's hard for parents to watch their little ones head off on the first real step toward independence. Each year my school has a Meet and Greet with the parents a week prior to the start of school. The Meet and Greet gives parents and students the opportunity to meet the teacher and view the classroom before the school year begins.  

 

2011 class 085

I always prepare a Welcome Packet for my parents. It includes activities, class expectations, and other important information about our school and class. The Meet and Greet is a small gesture that helps to relieve some of the anxiety parents may be feeling.

 

I hope the information provided will help get your school year off to a great start! 

 

Happy Planning!!

Comments

  • #1 shelley

    Friday, August 26, 2011 at 10:21 PM

    Sharon,
    I would appreciate a copy of your ABC's of Kindergarten letter. Do you need an email to send it to?
    Thanks
    Shelley

  • #2 shelley

    Monday, August 22, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    Thank you, I would love to see the ABC's of Kinder letter. That would be helpful. Trying new ideas this year. Need to see what works.

  • #3 Sharon Taylor

    Sunday, August 21, 2011 at 06:55 PM

    Many thanks Shelly! The meet and greet is a great activity to kick off the school year. In my welcome packet I include a welcome letter, an All About Me page, parent contact form, parent volunteer form, suppy list, schedule, and other classroom related forms. If you would like, I can email you a copy of the ABC's of Kindergarten letter that I also include.

  • #4 Sharon Taylor

    Sunday, August 21, 2011 at 06:43 PM

    I am happy this post has provided you with tips you can use to kick off your school year! I hope you continue to read my blog Mrs. Thomas! Best of luck in kindergarten!!

  • #5 Mrs. Thomas

    Sunday, August 21, 2011 at 09:05 AM

    Thank you for your info. I have been teaching another grade and I had to go back to kindergarten and I was lost. Thanks for the tips. I feel empowered to do my job. Keep up the great work. I love reading your articles. Thanks
    F. Thomas

  • #6 shelley

    Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    Hi Sharon,
    I am always looking for new ideas for the first few days of school. We are also looking into having a meet and greet time. Ours this year will be the day before school.
    I was wondering what you have in your folder for the parents? Thanks for all the cool tips for the first days and weeks. Looking foward to reading more in the weeks to come.
    thanks.
    Shelley

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Sharon Taylor
Sharon Taylor
Cordova, TN
Grades PreK-K
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The opinions expressed in Classroom Solutions are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Scholastic Inc.