Starting school can be a scary time for little 4 and 5 year olds as well as their parents! Today I would like to share some ideas to make the first week of school a little easier on everyone.
Before school begins, you might like to send out a little note to your students explaining how excited you are to meet them! In the years I have been a teacher, I haven’t ever gotten a class list until the pupil free days, so I always used this cute little ‘About your Teacher’ book on the first day of school for my parents and students to get to know me.
If you do send a note home introducing yourself, you might even include a separate note for parents introducing them to school life and any routines or procedures they will need to know for the first day of school. Here is an example of the newsletter I send home to parents at the end of the first week of school.
On the first day of school, I have all of my student’s name tags spread out on a table for them to find with their parents as they walk in. You might like to match these to your classroom theme if you have one or just make them nice and colourful. I always made sure mine were different to the other prep classes so that my students were easily identifiable on the playground.
You can grab a set of editable name badges for $2.00 from my TPT store. You can either print them blank and write your names on or use the text boxes to add your student names and class.
I also place a notice out on the verandah for parents and students to read before they come in. This note explains how the first part of the morning will run so that there are no surprises. Sometimes it can be difficult to get parents to leave their children in the morning so I am always specific with my first day morning routine so that parents know when they are expected to leave. Often your admin team will come along and collect and parents who are lingering.
As far as the first day goes, it is mostly spent reviewing routines and expectations for behaviour. Everything takes three times longer than you would expect because the little ones have never experienced anything like school before! We talk a lot about green choices and red choices and make a big fuss of anyone doing the right thing!
Below you will see an outline of what my first day looks like in a Prep classroom. It really is all about setting expectations early on.
There are so many great books out there about the first day of school – here are a few from my own collection. You could read a few of these over the course of the first week and talk about how your class experiences have been the same or different to the characters in the books.
I like to use my Helpful Habits and Hurtful Habits books at the beginning of the school year and when I start a contract with a new class. We discuss positive behaviours at school and those that aren’t so helpful. In this packet, I also include images for a picture sort which is great for the first day. You can grab my behaviour packet on TPT here.
At the end of the day, I think the most important thing you need to do in the first week of school is set the tone for the rest of the year. Your students need to have a clear understanding of school and classroom rules so that everyone can enjoy their year together.
Here are a few posts I have written about behaviour management in the past that you might find useful:
- Behaviour Management Using Social Stories
- How to get your class to line up like little champions
- Noisy class? No worries!
- Taming the Wild: Behaviour Management Strategies
- Storybook Saturday – Mending a Broken Heart
I truly hope this post helps you prepare for your first week in Prep! Remember that as teachers, we play such a BIG and important role in the lives of our students. As long as your students feel cared for, safe, supported and happy…then you’re doing it right!