Preparing for the First Day of School

August is here and whether you are ready or not, the start of school is right around the corner. Starting school for anyone can be a very emotional and scary time due to the many uncertainties. Preparing a smooth transition to school for children can lead to a great start to the year. Here are some tips for a smoother transition into the school year for both you and your students.

Be positive! Keep your outlook positive because learning can be fun and exciting. Don’t set incredibly high expectations that will cause you and your students to be disappointed when it is not met. Encourage parents to keep their outlooks positive, even if their own school experience was not. Keep the result of last school year in last school year. This is a fresh start, with fresh students, who will bring new strengths and new challenges into your room.

Be prepared for emotions! The drop-off on the first day of childcare, preschool, or kindergarten can be difficult for children and their parents. Children may be scared, sad, nervous, irritable, or excited. Their parents will also be experiencing a wide range of emotions as well. Realize too that these emotions could be a result of a lot of different things such as staying up too late, not being able to get to work on time that day, etc. Having a warm and friendly demeanor on the first day can help reaffirm positive emotions towards school such as excitement and happiness.  Have ideas planned on how to engage the students right away because if the children are engaged right away they will shortly focus on having fun in school and not on how much they miss their parents.

Get to know them and let them get to know you! Find time to talk to each student. Get on their level and talk eye to eye. Create a positive first interaction with them by talking to them about things they might be excited for you to know about them. These things could be their pets, what they like to do for fun, what they did over the summer, etc. Have pictures, trinkets, and examples of who you are and what is important to you, so that the children can learn about you as well.

Keep the first day simple! Discuss the rules and routines of the classroom, but remember it will more than a day to understand and follow them. Take a tour of the classroom and show all the exciting things there are to discover in it that is accessible to them. Allow children to explore the areas or objects in the classroom that are interesting to them.  Ease the children’s anxiousness by reading a silly book about school. Boost the children’s confidence by doing similar activities to what they’ve done before.

Celebrate the small victories! At the end of the school day give the children extra playtime, or take them outside. Allow them to do something fun as a result of the day. This will make them happy as they go home, and hopefully, make them excited to return. They survived the first day, and so did you. Celebrate the accomplishment of the end of the first day in your own way. Celebrate the accomplishment of every small milestone, whether that is the end of the week, the end of the month, or the end of the day every day. Keeping your spirits and your attitude up can help your students do the same.

“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning”-  Brad Henry.

From all of us at AIR to you, we hope the first day is the first of many great days this school year.