1st Day Tips

Recently in the Facebook Group we discussed tips for the first day of school!  I thought I would pass along those awesome tips here!  I hope you enjoy and may this be your BEST YEAR YET!


Dori shares… I have circle time where I have the kids introduce themselves and tell one thing they like or like to do. I tell them to be very attentive and try to remember as much as they can. Example: I am Julie and I like to swim. When we are all done I ask kids who can to name 5 students they just learned the name of and what they like or like to do. It is quite challenging but at least 4 or 5 can do it. Great for practice -speaking and listening skills.

Barbara shares… One thing that my husband always tries to get me to understand… but my personality does not allow me to…. get the basics done first. Take care of everything you need to survive the first day/week and then the finishing details. You can survive the first week without the perfect bulletin board, but you cannot survive without your lesson plans / activities.

Tara shares… I love using dominoes to show kiddos how we line up and what can happen if someone is running or not paying attention in line– all the dominoes can go tumbling!

Rachael shares… Have mini playdoh containers for each child to play with as they come in. It gives you time to talk to parents, welcome students, take up supplies, etc. It has saved me the past few years!

Kristen shares… I do a fun little activity called ‘Marshmallow Toes’ which has a song and an activity that gets them ready for walking in class, in the hallways, etc. We role play with real marshmallows and tap them on table, floor, wall, etc and then I ask ‘what do you hear?’ and we discuss how quiet the marshmallows are and then how they need to walk on their marshmallow toes whenever we are in the class or in the hallways.

Tracey shares… I like to have brown paper grocery bags labeled with their names. I don’t want to mess with sorting and organizing supplies at back to school night or the first day, so I have them put all supplies in the bag. I always have enough crayons/pencils ready for the first day, so I can take my time getting the supplies organized. I keep the bags until the last day of school. We decorate them and the kids can take home extra supplies, portfolio, notebooks, etc. in the bag. I always ask really nice at the grocery store and they donate them for me.

Tiffani shares… I put their name tags outside in a pocket chart with s note to parents to put the tag on their child. Then as students enter I can greet them “Good morning Tara, I’m so happy you are in my class.”

Sarah shares… I do a “kindness heart” and I have a construction paper heart and I read a story to them (I can link it if anyone wants) and i tell them that every time someone is mean to the character in the story, his heart breaks a little. and every time, I rip a piece of the heart and drop it to the ground. Then at the end I glue it back together. Then we talk about how we can still see the tears, even though the heart was put back together.

Lora shares…  I always take individual class and a class photo of first day. I do again at end of year. I always send the class photo home in the mail as a welcome to our class.

Jennifer shares…  I’ve been teaching since 1995 and my best tip for the first day of school is to go out to eat for supper! It has been a great stress reliever that I don’t have to worry about cooking after that exhausting first day! We made it special and went with my parents and the kids could tell them about their day.

Nancy shares..Remember that they might be nervous, shy, scared, super excited and more. These feelings are tough for 4/5 year olds to manage in a totally new atmosphere. Be patient and “go with the flow”.  Work on beginning routines, sing, dance and share a little. If you are calm and relaxed, it will send a great vibe to the kids so they can relax too!

Jennifer shares… Never underestimate the power of a good read aloud and coloring page. Have something low key for them to do to begin with such as coloring or building.

Betsy shares… We have a “Meet the Teacher” night before school starts. Parents bring their child’s supplies that evening. I put baskets out with labels on each one (crayons, markers, etc) and have the parents sort the supplies into the correct baskets. It makes the first day so much smoother because I don’t have to sort out supplies!

Miranda shares.. I always way over plan for the first week of school. Lots of coloring sheets and manipulatives they can play with. I try and plan for things they can do independently (which is not much) because there is always one or two that need some extra TLC. We practice procedures over and over and I try to make it a game. If they do the procedure correctly they get a sticker. Make sure that you know HOW THEY GET HOME! ??‍♀️ That was a disaster my first year, because they won’t be able to tell you! This year I think I’m going to try having Play Dough ready for them to play with!

Tena shares… I take a picture of each student holding their name tag the first day so I can learn their names quicker.

Karla shares… Over plan but only realistically expect to get a few things done.

Deanna shares… I also take pictures on the first day of every child, not only to learn their names but then I make several copies and use these pictures for our center board, attendance check in, put on a sentence strip with name for a friend’s center, and then also make it into a little class composite to send home that first week with a note about our school family. I only include first names but say this will help if your child comes home talking about a new friend. Helps them feel more connected to their child’s class and helps to get their child to talk about their day and new friends. This class composite also gets put in my sub folder and I make copies for all the Special Area teachers. They really appreciate it.

Barbara shares… Take pictures of how supply bins or other areas of the classroom are supposed to look as a visual reference for the children.

Mary shares… I teach preschool and send a letter to my students before school starts that asks them to send me an electronic picture of their child and something they want me to know about them. I use this picture for center cards, graphing (put on magnetic business cards), and for class list with boys on one side and girls on the other. I love receiving these!!! I love getting to know my students before school starts. I also ask for the parents email so I can make my class distribution list for the year (just copy and paste). I knew most of students by name when they come in and it has made parent child day much more relaxing on me.

Rona shares… I take pictures of the kinders and turn it into an alphabet book. Example: R is for Rona. Everyone will get a book of friends.

Alecia shares…  I do bubbles to teach what self control means. The first round they can pop the bubbles I blow at the them. The second round they absolutely can’t pop the bubbles even if it lands on their nose. We talk about what it means when you really, really want to do something, but you can’t. You really want to talk in line, but you can’t. You really want to shout out on the carpet, but you can’t. We play it several times because it helps them understand self control and practice self regulation!

Kristin shares…  I always make two extra baggies of all of the items a new child will need. (Name tags, cubby tag, center name tags, important paperwork, craft stick for lucky duck sticks, etc…)Then I am not scrambling to find everything when a new student arrives.

Mimi shares… 1. Have brown paper bags (Whole Foods and Central Market donate them to me) and have parents put supplies in them and eliminates chaos.  2. Name tags/lanyards with name, grade, section etc in case a child gets lost in the school.  3. Have several activities at their tables.  4. Create a first week buddy system to help them ease into school.  5. Eat breakfast and pack lunch and snacks. You will need it.
6. Don’t expect for anything to go as planned or perfection!

Jennie shares... Name tags with their bus numbers written on them. And we get the 5th graders to help walk them out. One kinder per hand.

Ximena shares… A fun activity I do is sorting goldfish. Each student gets a bag of multicolored gold fish that they sort on a map. You can probably find a similar idea on Pinterest!

Sarah shares… I type a list of boys and girls and tape it to the back of my school badge. That way I always know if I have everyone…especially lining up from recess the first time!! My team also types labels with student names/how they go home and stick it on their backs. That way I can easily see it, but they don’t mess with it.

Chris shares… I always prepare the kiddos for the noise of the fire alarm. It’s just scary. I also make sure I know how everyone gets home at the end of the day. I get those two things accomplished- it was a good first day!

My personal favorite and best memory of my first day of teaching kinder…

Myra shares… Get em there, get em fed, get em home.

If you would like some additional ideas for that first week back, you can check out my KinderSurvival and FirstieSurvial programs!




    1. For the first 2 weeks of school I make head bands with each child’s name, teacher’s name, and how they get home. (car, bus, daycare, and after school care). I also put a note on it asking for parents to return the head bands daily for the first 2 weeks of school. I usually type the information, cut it into a square, and glue it to a sentence strip. I laminate them so they will last longer. Thirty one years of using head bands, my kiddos end up in the right place at dismissal. ?

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