Exciting news! You're about to become the teacher of a new kindergarten class!
You might feel nervous about the many things you need to prepare.
Don't worry! These 5 essential practices will help you prepare for your first day as a kindergarten teacher.
1. Review the school staff handbook
Reading through your school staff handbook may seem lengthy and mundane, but it contains a lot of useful and important information!
School schedules and routines (e.g., recess supervision duties)
Emergency procedures for your classroom (e.g., fire, earthquake, lockdowns etc.)
Protocols for reporting injuries or accidents (e.g., completing accident forms)
Best ways to communicate with your student's parents (e.g. via email)
2. Get to know your students
Getting to know your kindergarteners ahead of time may help shape your teaching approach and inform how you set up your classroom.
Read up on your students' school records to learn more information about:
Additional needs (e.g., physical, emotional, behavioral, or learning disabilities and impairments)
Dietary restrictions (e.g., allergies)
Prior assessments/reports (e.g., kindergarten entry assessments or preschool reports)
3. Establish classroom expectations
Planning and setting clear expectations early on will ultimately help with your overall classroom management. Co-creating classroom expectations with your students will create less confusion about what is expected and will also help your students feel valued and heard.
Your classroom expectations should:
Include short phrases and student-friendly language
Have relevant visual images
Be displayed in an area where you and the students can easily refer to it when needed
4. Prepare a visual schedule of the day
At this age, kindergartners benefit from structure and routine. Display a visual schedule to promote:
They'll know what to expect throughout the day, which can help ease some anxious learners coming into a new environment.
5. Build a relationship with your students
You can plan the most amazing first-day activities for your students, but if they don't feel a sense of belonging or self-confidence in the classroom, this can impact their overall engagement and motivation to learn.
To help build a relationship with your Kindergarteners:
Greet each student by name in the morning
Join in their playtime
Check in with your students' feelings
Emphasize open communication
During your first day, you notice a few kindergarteners not engaging in any activities. What should you do?
Being well prepared for your first day as a kindergarten teacher will definitely help ease some of those first-day jitters!