Thursday, August 2, 2012

First Day of Kinder... Are You Scared?

Does the first day of Kindergarten scare you?  
(Play the music while your read the post.)

Don't let it!  Here are some tips on how to deal with things that will happen so you too CAN survive!  You will be beat and need a shower but if that's the worst that happens you are on the road to success!

1.  Parents will want to stay.  Let them stay as long as you are comfortable.  When you are ready for them to leave... simply tell your class to all kiss their families and wave goodbye... literally say that and have all the kids do it.  It's the most polite way to say ok, we are moving on with our day!  Remember, these are peoples' children and for many this is their first day of school ever!  They want to be involved so give them that chance, it will pay off in the end!

2.   You will have a crier and most likely a runner.  Criers you need to feel out.  Most likely on the first day they are just scared.  Show some extra love, let them hold your hand or sit by you.  Give them a job or something to be responsible for.  (But be aware, some kids just need time to cry and join you on their own time.)  For the runner, make sure you know before school starts how your school wants you to deal with it.  Some schools you are allowed to touch kids and some you are not.  Ask where your boundaries are.  Also, make friends with the teacher down the hall who can quickly open the door and help to intercept them as well - like a football block!   NEVER leave your classroom (well unless they run out and there is a parking lot close,) you have many other students to be responsible for.  Try and intercept them at the door and if you can't get them to stay in, call the office for assistance!  You simply can not be in two places at once!

3.  Kid's will not stay where you put them.  For many kids this is their first time in school and they don't understand sitting at circle time.  Know upfront that you will have to snatch them with ENGAGEMENT in order to take their mind off of all the temptations in your room!  Singing and dancing always help here.

4.  In the AM you prepare the kids for lunch, and in the PM you prepare the kids for dismissal.  For me, if that's how my first day goes I am happy.  These two concepts are really difficult to understand for our little learners and so take the time to practice, practice, practice.  This will make those two times much easier!

5.  Start your normal routine on Day 2.  You can plan for the normal routine on Day 1, but let's be real.... it won't happen that way!  It never does.  So just go with the flow, throw in some books, sing some easy songs and poems.  If you try to plan a fun activity like hand prints for The Kissing Hand etc, you will go a little crazy trying to manage 22 kinders while you help with 1 kinder with paint or stamp on their hands!  (Unless you have aide time but most of us don't have that any more.)  Do, however, plan some center time!  Just put manipulatives out on the tables and rotate those bins not the kids.  This will allow you time to breathe, stuff backpacks, and fill out any requests you may get that need to be done before they leave.  Play some music during this time the kids can sing to!

photo of: Children's Wrist Bands for Quick ID on the Playground
6.  You will lose a child on the playground.  Best thing ever is those rubber band bracelets you can get at Lakeshore... I believe they are character oriented but they work well for the first days of school. I buy the bright yellow ones and put them on my students the moment they walk in.  Then if they won't get off the playground, I can quickly identify who is mine and who is not.  Also make sure you take a class list with you everywhere you go.

7.  Kids won't know their own name, let alone yours!  Click back to Simply Centers for some ideas on how to label your kids!  Oh... and how to be super careful about how they go home!

8.  Parents will want to know how they did.  One way I manage this is by sending home a positive note right out of the gates! I have them premade with several general comments on them... I even copy them so some kids get the same ones.  Click below the image to get yours for free (kindergarten and preschool are both in the set!)  I am excited to see him tomorrow!"  This will eliminate some of those questions for you!

photo of: First Day of Kindergarten FREEBIE via PreK+K Sharing from Simply Kinders

9.  When all else fails, sing and dance!  It's kindergarten people!  These kids came to play not learn!  Singing and dancing will also give you time to refocus, replan, and change directions if you get off track!

Click here to see my post on how to survive the first hours of kindergarten!  
Please feel free to leave any other wisdom or ideas so we can all SURVIVE the first day of K!

photo of: Simply Kinder Logo

Our fearless leader, Debbie, had a TON of resources to get your year off on the right foot! 
Scroll down to yesterday -- or if you arrived via Pinterest, here's the click. 

photo of: Back to School Resources of Support at PreK+K Sharing


  1. I love your idea about the yellow bracelets! Do they wear them the whole day? Do you let them take them home? Just curious.

  2. Your bracelet idea is genius! I do not know why I had never though about this. Those first days of school can all be a blur and it gets difficult to remember every kiddos' face on the first day.

    Your list is cracking me up because it is SO true. Thank you for reminding about all those things were tend to forget about over the summer.

    I also think it is a fabulous idea to send a positive note home right away. This will help establish a strong school-home connection from the beginning! Thank you for sharing!

    I do, We Do, You Do!

  3. Awesome suggestions for getting through the first day of school, Jennifer! And the bracelets are brilliant! I pinned both your first-day-of-kindergarten posts to my Back to School Board at

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm getting ready to teach my first day of Kindergarten ever and I'm a nervous wreck. This post just helped to alleviate my fears so much!


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