Planning for the First Day of Kindergarten

By Sharon Taylor on August 19, 2011
  • Grades: PreK–K, 9–12

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.

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. 

Getting Students Acquainted With the Layout of Your School

2011 class 009

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.

 

Back-to-School Books

  Back to school booksYou 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!

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

Routines2

  Classroom Routines That Really Work for Pre-K and Kindergarten

Routines

 

 

 

 

  

Teaching Effective Classroom Routines

 

Planning for Parents

2011 class 051The 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

Great Ideas!!! I am doing my student teaching this fall in Kindergarten and I would love to have a copy of the activities and greetings. Thank you.
Theresa

Hi Sharon,
I have to start of by saying I am scared out of my mind of teaching Kindergarten. I have been teaching upper elementary for the last 13 years and now I am going to be teaching Kindergarten. I would love the abc's of kindergarten and and information you can give me that is in your parent folder. I know I will be fine after the first couple of months. It is just the beginning of the year that scares me. I don't know how to prepare and plan. Thank you in advance.

Tina

hai hello i am a kinder garten teacher pls mail me the games for the students on the first day of their school.

Hi, I am new teacher for pre-kg students 2.5 years old, I would be very grateful if you email me all the class work sheet and abcs or any other related issues about how to control them cuz they are very energetic.
Thanks alot

I enjoyed reading all of your wonderful ideas. I would greatly appreciate it if you could email me all the back to school items that you discussed. I am teaching kindergarten starting in a couple of weeks. Thanks for sharing all of your great ideas.

Hello. I am new to Kinder. Would you please email me the ABC packet and every other ideas, charts, and materials available. Thank you so very much.

Hi...am new to kinder this year...was wondering if you could please email me the ABC's of kinder letter....thank you so much! :-)

~Dara

Hi Sharon,
I'm a kindergarten teacher always looking for new ideas. Can you email me the ABC's of kindergarten letter and any activities or tips to kick off the school year?
Thanks

I am a new to teaching kindergarten this fall. Would love to receive your ABC's of Kindergarten and information about what is inside the parent file folder. Thank you.

I am a new to teaching kindergarten this fall. Would love to receive your ABC's of Kindergarten and information about what is inside the parent file folder. Thank you.

Hello! I was wondering if you could e-mail me the ABC packet for parents as well as any first week activities? As well as the information that was in the parents folder.
Thank you!

Hello! I am a first year teacher in Kindergarten! I was wondering if you could e-mail me the ABC packet for parents as well as any first week activities?

Thank you!

Please send me a copy of the ABC of Kindergarten. I would like to see whats in the folder for parents as well. Thanks for all the great ideals
Patsy

Thank you. I found this very helpful. Could you send me the ABC's of Kindergarten and the parent templates.

Have a great school year!

Hi,

I am interested what is in your parent packet as well. I am new to Kindergarten this year. Thanks for all your help.

Hi, I would appreciate any ideas for the first days of kindergarten. This is my first year teaching. I would value any ideas from experienced teachers. Thanks, joanie

Hi. Sharon

I am a new teacher this year teaching kindergarten, I would really appreciate if you could email me the ABC's pack and any other ideas or activities for the first week of the school year.
Thanks!
Leona

Hi,
I am new to Kindergarten this year. If possible, please send me the ABC's packet as well as anything else that you think is a "must have".

Thanks so much!
Christine

I loved all of your information and tips. Could you please email me the templates for the ABCs of kindergarten and what you have in your parent folder. Thank you.

Hi Sharon,
I am also a new teacher this year teaching kindergarten. I would also like to have the ABC's of kindergarten and the templates of what you have in your parent pack for the welcome to school night. Great ideas
Thanks Brenda

I appreciate the information and look forward to my new teaching position. Would you kindly forward to me the ABC's of Kindergarten and the templates of the parent pack please? Thank you so much!

Just love ur ideas, can u send me the abc letter please im a teacher in Mexico and really need the help..thanks

I love you post. I just got switched to kindergarten after teaching 3rd grade for the last 2 years. I am trying to adjust to the differences. Could you email me a copy of you abc's of kindergarten and parent letter? THANK YOU

Hi Sharon!
I am about to start my first year of teaching and would love a copy of your ABC's of Kindergarten. Thanks!

Would love a copy of ABC's of Kindergarten and templates of parent pack. Love this site. Teaching K for first time so excited! Thanks.

I would also like a copy of kindergarten abc letter and templates of parent pack, if possible??

i just graduated a few months and its my first time to teach kindergarten can you please send me the ABC's of Kinder letter..thanks a lot it will help me how to start my kindergarten class..

Hi,
I know this is an old post but I was wondering if you would mind emailing me a copy of the ABC's of Kindergarten letter.
Thank you!

Hey this is a great idea. Can I also get a copy of the abc's of kindergarten?

I have taught others grades but I am a little afraid about Kindergarten. I was wondering could you send me a copy of the ABCs of Kindergarten.

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

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.

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.

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!!

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

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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