The first day of preschool may not be new to you, but to many of your preschoolers it will be a brand new, extremely exciting, possibly terrifying experience. Some of them may cry, some of them may want to explore everything, some of them may cling to you or sit in a corner and refuse to participate in anything. They are children; this is all perfectly normal.
When you picture the first day of preschool, expect chaos. Go into it realizing that you need to be as prepared as possible and allow more time than you think you’ll need for each activity, but that you’ll also need to be flexible. Things will probably not go as you have planned. But that’s okay.
Here are 10 things you should teach on the first day of preschool and some additional tips to get you through the day wanting to come back tomorrow and do it all over again.
Forget The Curriculum—Teach The Basics
For many of your students this will be their first time in a formal school setting. For some of them it may be their first time away from their mom for an extended period. They need to learn how to navigate this new world of their preschool classroom. The first day of preschool is a time to forget the curriculum and just teach the basics. Here are 10 things you should teach on the first day:
- Where to find the bathroom
- How to open a bottle of glue
- How to sit for Circle Time
- How to sit on our bottoms for Circle Time
- How to open their snack containers
- How to not touch our friends
- How to sing songs and move our bodies
- How Center Time works
- Where all the materials are stored
- How to line up at the door
Once children master these basic systems of your classroom you will be able to get on with the task of teaching the things they need to know. If you have to open a dozen glue bottles, and just as many snack containers yourself every class you won’t have time for much else. Teach children how to be independent in your classroom to build their confidence and to free up your time for teaching.
The Ideal Schedule
Planning the ideal schedule for your preschool class will help you move through the day successfully. This schedule strategically plans activities to lead seamlessly into the next activity.
- Table Time (names, fine motor activities, cutting, gluing)
- Circle Time
- Center Time (45 minutes)
- Clean Up—Plan clean up time right before recess because the children will be excited to go outside to play which will encourage them tol clean up quickly.
- Recess—Plan outdoor play time right before snack time so the children will be happy to stop playing so they can enjoy their snacks.
- Snack Time—If children finish their snacks early, they can move to the Circle Time area and quietly read books to each other or to themselves while they wait for the rest of the class to join them..
- Closing Circle
- Backpacks/Line Up—Place a piece of tape near the door (not too close so that you can still open the door.) Show the children how to line up by placing their feet on the line.
The first day of preschool may be a noisy, challenging time, but with some careful planning and preparation it can be an incredibly exciting, and productive day too.