Updated: Jun 27
Have you ever wondered what you actually DO with your new class on the first day of school? Hopefully these tips will help with just that!
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Display on your smartboard a little to-do list for your class when they arrive on the first day. For example: can you find your coat peg? Can you find your tray? Can you find where to put your water bottle? packed lunch? etc. This ensures you are free to chat to any parents or settle any kids who may be upset on the first day.
Establish daily routines. Explain clearly what your routine is for things like entering the classroom, lining up, transitioning to and from the carpet etc. If you have young children try and give them short and easy to follow instructions. With little ones allow ALOT of time to practise routines! If you would like to learn more about the importance of routines check out my post How Do Teachers Stay Organised?
Make sure your expectations are clear. Be consistent and fair with your expectations around behaviour and respect in the learning environment. Think about things you are ok and not ok with. Will you allow more than one at the toilet? Are you ok with children moving seats? There is no right answer, just do what feels right for you and your kids!
Give your kids time to explore their new learning environment. Make sure and allow some free time on your first day so that your new class can explore all the different areas of the classroom and figure out where resources are, on their own. I often do a resource scavenger hunt where my kids need to find different resources they would need every day eg: coloured pencil, glue stick etc. After our scavenger hunt I then ask them to return all their found items to the correct places. This helps a lot when tidying as my kids are then familiar with where things go!
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I often find it to be a nice idea to do a birthday related craft or activity on your first day. This means you can use what your kids create to make a birthday display which will give them ownership of their new classroom! It's also a great chance to chat to them about when their birthdays are and get to know them.
If you have younger children make sure and confirm who is picking them up from school or if they have a club or go to a childminder. It can be so easy to get caught up in the craziness of the first day to forget this kind of stuff! It will make sure you're a lot less stressed at home time too!
Don't worry if your day's plan goes completely off the rails! Of course its always good to have a plan but be prepared to change a few things around if needed. I remember having to deal with an unplanned fire drill with one of my past classes! Not exactly what you expect on the first day of school!
Most importantly, HAVE FUN and use the first day to get to know your kids. If all else fails spend your first day reading stories, singing songs and PLAYING!