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The Importance of Beginnings: Helping Preschool Teachers Start The School Year Off Right!

Preschool provides an excellent foundation for early learning. Not only does preschool give young children the opportunity to interact with other kids their age - perhaps for the first time in their young lives - it also capitalizes on a period of time when children's brains are at the peak capacity to acquire new knowledge and skills. 

A great first day of preschool sets the tone for the rest of the school year and, as a preschool teacher, you play a huge role in helping your students start their school careers on the right foot.

Here are our top three tips for creating a successful first day/week of preschool:

1. Prepare for a few tears.

As this is the first day of school ever for many young children, prepare for some apprehension and even a few tears. There are several ways you can provide comfort in their new environment. In addition to creating a welcoming space, you can allow children to bring comfort items from home. Generally, it's best if these items stay in the child's backpack, and just knowing that they are there provides enough solace for the child. At open house, you may also invite parents to write love notes to their child, and place them in the classroom on the first day of school.

2. Spend some time getting to know one another.

Your preschool class will become like a family. Tell them about yourself. Relate to them by sharing your favorite books and pastimes, and learn their favorites as well. Play "Get to Know You" games to break the ice during the first day/week. We love these ideas from third grade teacher and blogger, Courtney, of Teaching in Paradise. (Our favorite is the beach ball game). Courtney has some great ideas about creating your classroom rules and encouraging character development as well, which leads us to our third tip.

3. Establish rules and routines on day one. And prepare to practice and reinforce them throughout the week.

We like the idea of using visual reminders of classroom expectations, and our We Can Do It! classroom chart is a great tool for that. The colorful task cards in our reward chart allow teachers to track up to 24 students, and to choose from tasks like Use my walking feet, Wash my hands, Clean up, Raise my hand, Cover when I sneeze or cough, Include others, and many more.

We have also developed several free printables for preschool teachers, which  emphasize ideal classroom behaviors, character development, and milestones. To receive our free printables delivered to your email mailbox, sign up here.

With a solid foundation in place, your class will quickly find the path to learning success! Wishing you a happy new school year!

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