Getting Started in Kindergarten: Introducing Classroom Routines and Procedures

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

So it's the first day of kindergarten and my new Kinders are all excited because EVERYONE has been telling them how much they are going to LOVE school.  

Then, they get to school and I start talking and talking and talking about how to use the bathroom or be a good listener and, well, let's face it, it's not very exciting! 

This used to be me.

But now, I've discovered ways to make introducing classroom routines and procedures a bit more fun and engaging.

Here are a few ideas that might work for you too!

children using hand signals

Tell a Story  

Use a book or tell a real-life classroom story to set the stage for the routine/procedure you are about to introduce.  I like to read the Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein when introducing good listening habits.


I also tell the real-life story of how a child waited all year to hear her birthday announced on the loudspeaker and then missed it because she wasn't listening. 


children's book the interrupting chicken

Use Gestures  

Many routines involve several steps. Create a hand motion for each step and use them as you are naming the steps to a routine or procedure.  Invite children to "mirror" you so they can learn the motions.  You don't have to know sign language to do this just make up the motions as you go along or ask the kids for their ideas.


Sing it

Create a little "ditty" to help children sing the steps of the routine. Just take a familiar tune such as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and change the words. Don't worry about how good it is or how well you sing (just apologize to your teaching assistant in advance), the kids will love it!

In the beginning of the year, I "sing them in" with our Unpacking Song as they enter the classroom and begin to do their "Hello Jobs."  This keeps them focused on the task while reminding them of the steps.

Unpacking song for beginning of school year

Act it Out

Use a My Turn, Your Turn approach to practice each procedure.  First,  model the correct steps (My Turn) and then choose students to show the class how to do it. (Your Turn).  

Follow that up with a chance for the whole class to practice while you provide feedback.  This gets them up and moving and gives you an opportunity to see who might need a little extra support.


Beginning the Year back to school  in Kindergarten: Routines and procedures

Use Props

Use puppets or stuffed animals to role play or model desired behaviors. I use a big stuffed Teddy Bear to model our listening position, how to do a turn and talk, and how to raise his hand to speak.

Beginning the Year back to school  in Kindergarten: Routines and procedures

Multisensory Learning 

These ideas are not only fun and engaging for children, but utilize multisensory strategies that help the brain secure learning to memory.  

You can find some of these strategies sprinkled throughout the second Kindergarten Kick-off Deck: Routines and Procedures

Beginning the Year back to school  in Kindergarten: Routines and procedures

What are some fun ways that you engage children while getting your classroom up and running?  

Thanks for stopping by!

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