Getting Started in Kindergarten: Getting to Know You

Thursday, 25 August 2016

It's so easy to get caught up in the back-to-school to-do list of room set up and name tags that I sometimes lose sight of the most important goal for September - getting to know the children.  

In the first month, I don't have to teach them all how to read, use number bonds, or tap words.

But, I do need to explore where they come from, what their interests and abilities are, and what their hopes and dreams are for kindergarten. 

They also need to get to know me and the rest will come, if we take this time. 


Here are some of the first experiences we did last year during those “Get-to-Know-You Weeks” at the beginning of our kindergarten school year.

first day of school all about me activities

Beginning of the Year Activities

Birthdays
We drew birthday cakes and shared how old we were (well maybe not me!) and found out which of us have birthdays in the same month.  The cakes were a nice first sample of their drawing and coloring.  

celebrating birthdays in kindergarten

Names
We read stories and sang songs of characters with unusual names such as Tikki Tikki Tembo, Chrysanthemum, Bingo and Catalina Magdalena.  

Then, we looked closely at our own names, counted the number of letters and made name cards.  We did this in small groups which gave me the opportunity to see if the children could identify and sequence the letters independently or if they needed support.

creating name cards in kindergarten

creating name cards in kindergarten


creating name cards in kindergarten


Self-Portraits
We looked closely at our faces in mirrors and explored the ways we were the same and different.  

We created faces with loose parts and drew self-portraits as inspired by the books Let's Make Faces and Faces.  The self-portraits were repeated at the end of the year to show our growth over time.


creating self portraits with loose parts in kindergarten


creating self portraits with loose parts in kindergarten


creating self portraits in kindergarten

All About Me Folders
We shared our writing folders, which were decorated with pictures to tell about ourselves, and would later be used as a source for writing ideas.  

We learned about each other's likes/dislikes and I was able to observe their listening and speaking. 

sharing all about me folders in kindergarten

Class Motto
We explored our class motto (Treat others the way you want to be treated) and talked about what that meant to each of us. 

We made a concrete representation of it in the form of a golden circle.

creating the golden rule in kindergarten


the golden rule in kindergarten


class rules and golden rule in kindergarten

Fall Walk
We took a fall walk and wondered about the things we saw and touched.  

We created a chart of our observations and began to ask questions about the season.  I noticed that some children were able to offer a question while others struggled to do this.

fall nature walk in kindergarten


fall nature walk in kindergarten


fall nature walk in kindergarten


fall nature walk in kindergarten


fall nature walk in kindergarten


Discovery Centers
We explored our Discovery Centers and the materials in our room.

Some children played alone while others worked together.

Some were able to sustain play while others flitted from one choice to the next.

I watched to see which centers they were most interested in and which they visited the least.


choice time discovery centers in kindergarten


choice time discovery centers in kindergarten

choice time discovery centers in kindergarten


choice time discovery centers in kindergarten


choice time discovery centers in kindergarten


choice time discovery centers in kindergarten

Songs
We sang lots of songs and paired them with movements and props.  Some became much-needed "brain breaks" during those first days together.

Others were chosen because they helped children build oral language and develop phonemic awareness skills.

Most children enjoyed participating, but a few were a bit self-conscious.

Some children had good body control while others needed a little support.

BINGO song in kindergarten




Books
We read, talked, and responded to many books, including The Invisible Boy, by Trudy Ludwig and the children were invited to make connections between themselves and the characters and/or stories.  

Their connections told me about their experiences and gave me insight into their language use. 


The Invisible Boy picture book


responding to literature in kindergarten

A New School Year

This year I'll be offering some of these same experiences, while adding a few new ones.

Most are included in the last deck in the Kindergarten Kick Off series, Getting to Know You.  You can find it here:

Back to School Getting to Know You Ideas and activities in kindergarten


Thanks for stopping by!

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