Back to school time is right around the corner. Teachers are preparing to head back to the classroom after a glorious summer break. It can be easy to get wrapped up in your to-do list and forget things, such as your own self care or a read aloud for day 3 of school. Prepare with confidence and cover your bases with this first week of kindergarten survival guide.
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Survival Guide For the Teacher
Teachers have a lot on their plates when planning and prepping for back to school time. There's organizing and decorating the classroom, learning about new students, planning lessons, catching up with coworkers, and doing beginning of the year professional development just to name a few.
While the to-do list may seem never-ending, it's important to remember your own mental health and well-being. A tired, rundown teacher won't be able to show up as the teacher they want to be.
Be sure to get your rest, practice self care when you can, and give yourself grace. Not everything will be perfect or go exactly as planned during the first week of kindergarten, and that's ok.
To ensure you're prepared for any situation that may arise at school, it's also a good idea to prep a teacher emergency kit as part of your first week of kindergarten survival guide. This will help you feel good and cover your self care bases at all times while you're away from home.
When planning lessons for the first week of kindergarten, be sure to focus more on making your students feel welcome than on curriculum and skill practice. There's plenty of time throughout the year for that. However, this first week is all about getting to know your students.
Don't try to do it all this first week. Take the time to get to know each other, teach routines and procedures, and make your students feel safe and welcome at school. The goal for each day of the first week of school is to make your students love school and be excited to come back the next day.
You can check out a sample first week of school schedule in this Realistic Expectations for the First Week of Kindergarten blog post.
Plan simple First Week of School Activities to help ease students into the school year and will help you with beginning of the year assessments. You'll want to have activities that will allow students to practice using classroom tools and manipulatives, get to know their classmates, and work on fine motor skills.
Survival Guide For the Classroom
As you sit down to plan your lessons for the first week of kindergarten, remember to keep it simple. You'll be spending a lot of time on routines, procedures, and teaching how to transition from one activity to the next.
As part of your first week of kindergarten survival guide, I've included ideas for read alouds, hands-on activities, and math and literacy must-haves. These ideas will make school fun for your students and will get everyone in the groove while slowly incorporating beginning of the year skills.
One of the best ways to connect with your students and make them feel welcome at school is with back to school read alouds. There's something about listening to a story that makes students feel calm and more relaxed. A few of my favorite back to school read alouds for kindergarten are:
- The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing
- Kindergarten, Here I Come! by D.J. Steinberg
- First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
- Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
- The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
Check out your school's library or see if you can borrow these books from a teacher friend if you don't have them and you'll be set for an entire week of read alouds.
First week activities
Having a variety of hands-on activities for students to work with is an essential element of your first week of kindergarten survival guide. These activities will teach students how to use different supplies and manipulatives in the classroom while being exposed to basic kindergarten skills.
Remember, during the first week, the main focus is routines, procedures, and relationships. No need to give grades or worry too much about skills just yet. These hands-on activities are perfect for the first week of kindergarten and can be incorporated several times during the week.
You can give your students practice with all the classroom tools that you'll be using. Practicing with items like scissors, glue, hole punchers, and bingo dabbers will help them understand the expectations and practice using them independently as well.
Set up your day for success
While the first week of kindergarten is mainly a focus on procedures and relationships, you also want to start to develop routines. Keep in mind with all routines, clear expectations, consistency, and practice is key.
One of the most important routines to establish is your morning routine. A smooth, consistent morning routine is vital for a successful day of learning. How your students begin their school day sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Morning tubs are an excellent way to provide a routine that students enjoy and look forward to. You'll find that this simple routine makes a much bigger impact than students coloring or sitting around waiting for the day to begin.
Keeping your kindergarten students excited yet ready to learn those first few days of school can be a bit overwhelming. Having easy to use activities on hand will not only help keep your stress levels down, but will also help your students feel excited and confident going into the school year.
Grab your FREE set of Back to School Activities to print and use those first few days without any prep needed from you!
I hope this first week of kindergarten survival guide gives you peace of mind knowing that you don't have to do it all in the first week. I'd love to hear which ideas and activities you implement this year. Leave a comment and let me know!