Advice animals tips

Teach kids exactly how to listen.

Source: First Grade Garden Don’t expect that they will come to you knowing what that looks like.

Start the year with firm expectations and clear routines.

“Don’t worry about the curriculum. Just focus on the routines and rules. One of the best bits of advice I got from a professor was that the kids WANT to love you so don’t be afraid to be strict with the rules and set down your boundaries right out of the gate. I’ve been teaching for 20 years, and I learned that the hard way. Have fun, play games, let them see your playful side but take the time to let them know what is expected of them.” —Julie S. Check out classroom management tips for kindergarten for more ideas!

Make keepsake drawings that will show growth from the beginning of the year.

Source: Splish Splash Splatter “I would have them do a self-portrait the first day and then another one the last week and watch the difference! You will want to start and demo one of yourself just to give them an idea of what to do. You might be surprised at the results and your parents will save it forever—mine did. I still have one I drew as a kinder or first grader.” —Julia A.

Choose amazing read alouds for the first week of school.

Source: Mrs. Jones’s Class We love these suggestions from Mrs. Jones’s Class.

Keep in mind how close to “baby” your students really are.

“Remember, they are 60-month-olds! That always gives me perspective the first few weeks teaching kindergarten.” —Michelle K.

Start at the very beginning.

Source: Pre-K Pages “Don’t assume they know how to do anything. Teach them everything. How to knock at the bathroom door, how to close it behind them, how to wash hands, throw away towels … routines, routines, routines.” —Shannon T.

Help the parents of your students on the first day. This is a tough transition for them, too!

“You will have a room full of parents on the first day, so to have a smooth goodbye, I wrap a box with Kinder Bear (any stuffed bear) inside. After the kids are sitting on the carpet, I tell them that I have a friend I’d like them to meet, but that he’s shy. I pretend to listen to the bear and tell the kids he wants you to say bye to mom & dad so he can come out and play. The parents will ‘get’ the message and leave, and the students will be eager to meet Kinder Bear!” —Denise B.

Keep in mind that the kids have expectations too!

Source: Rainbows Within Reach “Kids go to their first day of kindergarten expecting to learn how to read that very day. So you have to do some choral reading of big books or poems so that they know that they have begun to learn to read. Just one big book. Read it many times that day. If they go home seeing themselves as scholars on the first day of school, you will have set the tone for the whole year.” —Becky N.

Take your class on a mini-adventure on the first day.

“I teach routines, rules, but I also go on some kind of  ‘adventure.’ My adventure is going through the school to find where everything is, the bathrooms, the nurse, the front office, the cafeteria (which we practice going through the line), library, etc. I’ve done fishing where I have fish (or a jungle animal if that was my theme) hanging at each place and they collect them in a bucket as we go around taking turns and collecting through the whole school. They love it.” —Dana H.

Set up sensory tables.

Early childhood teachers know that hands-on learning is essential. Sensory play encourages open-ended thinking, language development, collaboration, and builds fine motor skills. Sensory materials are magically both engaging and calming. Here are our favorites!