The first day of school is an exciting and nerve-wracking experience for parents, children, and students. The first day of preschool or kindergarten is a particularly big day because it may be the first time a child and parent are separated for the entire day.
Teachers preparing for the first day of school need to make students feel welcome and safe and let parents know they’re eager to learn about them and their children.
Here are five fun, inviting activities to try on your classroom’s first day of school!
Everyone likes feeling welcomed into the classroom, so start each day with an individualized morning greeting. Create or purchase a morning greeting chart showing different teachers can greet children upon arrival and hang it by the classroom door.
- Hug (if your school policy permits it)
Each morning when a child arrives, have them point to their greeting of choice for the day. A greeting chart gives control to the child on how their day begins, makes them feel welcomed, and respects their personal space and boundaries.
All About Me Assignment
Send home an All About Me poster for students to do at home with their parents. Sending home a start-of-the-year project welcomes family involvement and will help you get to know the children and their families together.
Encourage families to send in photos to attach to the poster or to hang in the classroom. Then, once children bring their assignments back, have two or three children share their posters daily with their peers.
Greeting You Song
Preschoolers and kindergartners love circle time and music, and they love routine! So teachers should start the first day of school with a regularly scheduled morning circle time that includes a greeting song or activity.
Choose a song that includes the children’s names. Using their names will help them feel welcomed and allow them to get to know one another.
Find a Friend
Find a friend is a fun icebreaker game teachers can use to help children socialize. The game also promotes cognitive developmental skills because it requires children to match shapes or colors.
You will need several sets of matching cards; you can use cards from a memory game to create them on your computer. Each set should be unique, for example, two pink triangles, two blue circles, two green squares, etc.
Mix the cards up and have the children spread out in the classroom. Give each child one card, then have them find their pair. Once they’ve found their partner, they need to share a fact about themselves. Play several rounds each day during the first week of school.
Teachers can make the game run smoothly by providing the prompt for each round. For example, “When you find your partner tell them your favorite animal.”
Meet the Teacher Letter
Families want to get to know you, the teacher, too, so create a fun, colorful Meet the Teacher letter to send home on the first day. The letter should include information like where you went to school, how long you’ve been teaching, and fun personal attributes you’d like to share, like your favorite color, food, sports team, etc.