5 Tips for a Smooth First Week of Kindergarten
When preparing for the first week of kindergarten, there’s so much to do inside the classroom to prepare your space, lessons, and students. However, it’s also important to take steps to prepare yourself as the teacher to make your life easier.
Read on for 5 simple tips for a smooth first week of kindergarten.
Tip #1: Determine your routines and procedures ahead of time.
The first week of kindergarten is all about getting to know your students and practicing routines and procedures. There are so many routines and procedures to teach, so to make your life easier, determine which ones you want to address right away.
This will help ensure you don’t forget any and allow you to make a plan ahead of time to teach them. Kindergarteners need explicit instruction of these routines and procedures, so be sure to work these into your lesson plans.
Make a checklist of these important routines and procedures. Place a checkmark next to them each day that you address them.
Some key routines and procedures to teach right away include:
- Where to put belongings
- How to unpack backpack
- Bathroom procedures
- How to ask a question
- How to line up
- Walking in line
- How to clean up area
- Transitioning from place to place
- How to sit at the carpet
- Recess procedures
- Snack-time routine
- Specials class procedures
- Lunch routine
- Listening skills
- Packing up and end of day
For more tips on setting realistic expectations for the first week of kindergarten along with a sample daily schedule, check out this blog post.
Free Listening Skills Mini Unit
To help you plan for teaching listening and social skills, grab this free listening skills mini unit. This unit comes with various activities, including a pocket chart sort, discussion cards, talking posters, listening games, activity pages, and foldable mini books.
You can get a free copy delivered straight to your inbox by filling out the form below.
Tip #2: Be over-prepared with copies and activities.
There can be a lot of situations that come up unexpectedly during the first week of school. You never know if you’ll get an extra student or two on the morning of the first day of school. A student might accidentally rip their page or spill milk on it. Anything can happen!
It’s always a good idea to have extra copies of your activities on hand for the first week. If you have extras at the end of the week, you can save them for next year.
The same goes for having extra copies of your welcome letter, important forms, your welcome baggie or gift, name tags, lunch tags, etc. If you have a meet the teacher night, be sure to have extras of anything students and families will receive or take home.
Some activities will take what feels like forever and others will fly by so fast that you’re left with extra time on your hands. This can be a scary thing with all of those brand new kindergarten eyes on you.
Be over-prepared with extra activities, games, no prep pages, and time fillers so chaos doesn’t break out. You can find a ton of great low and no prep activities, games, and hands-on math and literacy mats in this First Week of Kindergarten lesson plan pack.
Tip #3: Avoid the school supply chaos.
One of the most stressful situations is having all of your students unpack their backpacks with all of their supplies on the morning of the first day of kindergarten.
If you can, have students bring their supplies ahead of time at meet the teacher night so you can help them get unpacked and organized ahead of time.
You can make signs around the room to have families place designated supplies in each area, such as tissues, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, baggies, etc.
After the families leave, you can put the supplies away in their designated location so they’re ready for the first day of school.
If you don’t have that option to organize ahead of time, you can get extra grocery store bags from your local store (or your home, if you save them). Put each student’s name on a bag.
Have them come in on the first morning of school and dump their supplies inside. Set them aside so you can organize them later.
Prepare enough supplies to have readily available for each student to use on the first day of kindergarten so you can avoid the supply chaos. You can unpack and organize their supplies after school so they’re set for the next day.
Tip #4: Prepare YOURSELF for the first week of kindergarten.
As the teacher, it’s important that you take steps to make YOUR life easier during the busy first week of school.
Meal prep some easy meals that you can just grab for breakfast and lunch without having to think about it. Check out these delicious, healthy lunch ideas in this blog post.
You’re going to be tired after school, so make dinnertime easier on yourself this week, too. This is not the time to make big, gourmet dinners.
Stick to grab and go dinners and easy meals that require little prep and ingredients. Don’t feel bad about ordering take-out or a pizza.
Another helpful tip is to pick out your outfits (accessories, too!) and lay them out for the week. This saves you from having to decide what to wear each morning. The last thing you need is a fashion crisis!
Prepare yourself for caffeination and hydration. Set the coffee pot to auto-start in the morning so you can just pour and go. Fill up your water bottle the night before and put it next to your lunch in the refrigerator. Then you can grab both as you head out the door.
Check out this Survival Guide for the First Week of Kindergarten blog post for more helpful tips to make your life easier.
Tip #5: Plan and prep for your second week of kindergarten.
By the end of the first week of kindergarten, you’re going to be exhausted. Like, fall asleep at 7 pm exhausted.
When planning your lessons for the first week of kindergarten, go ahead and plan and prep your second week of school lesson plans, too. These will most likely be an extension of the first week of school lesson plans.
You’ll still be practicing routines and procedures, learning how to transition, doing basic activities, and practicing using supplies. You might start incorporating your first curriculum lessons, too.
Go ahead and get the second week’s lesson plans ready to go before school even starts. You’ll thank yourself by the end of the first week, I promise!
The activities found in the First Week of Kindergarten lesson plan pack can be used for the first few weeks of kindergarten. You can prep these all before the first day of kindergarten and use them throughout the first month of school.
I hope these practical tips help make your teacher-life easier and give you a smooth start to the year.
Do you have a great tip for making the first week of kindergarten go smoothly? Share it in the comments below!