First day of School – Top 5 Tips for Teachers

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On the first day of preschool/school, few factors are more crucial than being prepared! 

1. CREATING A WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT

As your students enter your classroom for the first time, they need to feel at home. One of the best ways to help your students feel like a part of the classroom is to let them see that you’re including them! Create a bulletin board dedicated just to your students. Start with their names, and as soon as you can, add their pictures, too

2. ORGANIZING NEW STUDENT BAGS

As you set up your classroom for your new class, set aside a couple of large gallon-sized Ziploc bags to create “new-student bags”. Fill the bags with a personalized nameplate, classroom folders, and school procedures. Include whatever a new student may need, so that when you get a late arrival on the third day of school, you’ll have all the new supplies neatly organized in one place and ready to go!

3. ORGANIZING CLASSROOM SUPPLIES

If your school requires students to bring their own supplies at the beginning of the year, you can organize those, too! Here’s how. Simply set up drop-off stations with boxes or bags clearly labelled with words and pictures so your students know where to leave their supplies for next time. This is a huge help – it saves you from spending extra time at the end of the day sorting through the whole class’s supplies.

4. SETTING UP CLASSROOM ROUTINES

One of the most important factors in arranging for a smooth first day of school is setting up clear routines. Make sure that you have a written schedule to give you something to follow. The first week of school is the time when you set your standards and expectations for the rest of the year. Make sure you teach your students exactly how you want them to enter the classroom, how you want them to sit on the carpet, where to hang their backpacks, and even how to ask to use the bathroom! Practice these routines several times a day for several weeks, and revisit them often!

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5. MINIMIZING TEARS

The first day of school can be scary. It may be the first time your kindergarteners have ever been away from their parents for an extended period of time. Well, it’s hard on moms and dads too! If your school allows it, one of the best ways to ease everyone into the new environment is to invite parents into the classroom on the first day. Include them on the same tour of the classroom that you’re giving your students. Limit this time to about an hour of the day.

One way we have found to help minimize the tears is to have stuffed animals around for the students who are feeling sad. They can hug a stuffed animal and carry it around for comfort. Eventually, they will be so engaged by all the fun activities in kindergarten and by all their new friends, they will forget to cry!

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