Making a Plan for the First Days of Kindergarten

Friday, 4 September 2015

Planning for the the first few days and weeks of kindergarten is different than all the others due to the massive amount of routines and procedures that need to be introduced.

It's also a tricky balance between being clear about expectations, yet not talking too much, and making it a pleasurable first day experience for all the children.


First Day Plans

So every Labor Day weekend, I would find myself planning for those first few days of school.

Some years I used my plan book. Others I just typed up a schedule.
I also tried creating a grid or working from a list of procedures, checking them off as I go.

But, what was sooooo frustrating is that I kept recreating the wheel.

Each and every year!

Shouldn't I have this all figured out by now?

A Plan That Works

Well, last year I finally got smart.

I sat my sweet self down and created a pretty thorough card deck that included everything I needed to remember to begin the kindergarten year.

The best part was that when I pulled that baby out this year, I did a little "dance" knowing that I was good to go for the new school year.


How the Deck Works

So here's what I did in case you want to create a similar deck for yourself!

I typed up a card for each procedure/routine as well as for the different parts of our day.  On each card was a quick description, or in some cases, a script of how I might introduce a material or a routine along with ideas for songs, gestures or read alouds that might help secure the learning to memory.

I printed them out on cardstock and carefully put them in an order that loosely resembled the schedule I was trying to build.  I also tried to strike a balance between active vs. less active times.

At the end of the first day, I evaluated what we had accomplished (I ALWAYS plan too much!) and reordered the card deck for the next day.  This meant adding in some new cards and removing others. It worked well because everything I needed to remember about introducing glue sticks, for example, was on one card and yet the cards could easily be rearranged at any point in the day, because as we all know, those first days rarely go as planned.

I recently worked to put the decks in a format that could be shared with all of you.

There are six Kindergarten Kick-Off Decks that include introducing materials, routines and procedures, a motto and promises, learning blocks, discovery centers and many get-to-know-you activities.




This planning grid outlines how the cards are used for the first 10 days of school.


Ready For Kindergarten

So this Labor Day weekend, it pleases me to know, that instead of being home planning, I’m headed to a Luke Bryan concert, the NYS fair, and the Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival! Whoopee!

(It only took me 10 years to figure it out!)

What works for you in planning for those first few days of kindergarten?

Thanks for stopping by!

6 comments:

  1. I really like your idea of using these charts, how did you decide what to type up? For me, the first few days usually are focused on getting the routines consistent and making the expectations clear so that children are ready to learn. A lot of it is preparation work for future learning (eg. completing the title page for ISN's, lessons on AHA moments, reflection tasks, grading options...)

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  2. I really like your idea of using these charts, how did you decide what to type up? For me, the first few days usually are focused on getting the routines consistent and making the expectations clear so that children are ready to learn. A lot of it is preparation work for future learning (eg. completing the title page for ISN's, lessons on AHA moments, reflection tasks, grading options...)

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  3. The cards are my script/teaching points for introducing materials (i.e. crayons), parts of our day (i.e. reading workshop), routines (i.e. getting ready for lunch) and behavior expectations (quiet signal, class promise, etc.). I find that most of what I have to introduce at the beginning falls into these 4 categories, so I began by working from lists in each category. Then I typed up a card for each item on the list. Hope that helps!

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  4. Hello... Great idea! I use a similar concept for my class schedule but I never thought of adding scripts/teaching points. I would love to see some of your script/teaching points. Thank you for sharing.

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  5. Replies
    1. As they are now, I can't post them because they contain little rhymes that I don't have permission to share.

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