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First Day of Kindergarten

The first day of kindergarten is busy, busy, busy! Learning the names, faces, parents and personalities of all of the students on the class list is essential. You must teach routines and procedures. You need to hold the attention of a roomful of active, excited little minds. New faces will show up that you’ll have to add to the class list.

Be prepared for kinks in the plans. Bus numbers will change. Duty assignments will be modified — now you have morning and afternoon duties for the first few weeks. Lesson plans are due — and the principal wants lessons plans for the entire week. And no, there is no nap time for the students (or the teacher)! Oh, and don’t forget open house — teachers will need to stay into the evening (I hate it when people think teachers get off at 3:00 every afternoon), but still be at work on time the following morning to receive students.

What does a kindergarten teacher need to do to survive? Here are eight handy survival skills.

1. Nametags
Some kindergarteners may be new to the “school experience." Moving to the cafeteria, going to the bathroom, and working in their classroom may be brand new concepts to them. Have students wear nametags with their name, their school, and their teacher’s name for the first week or two. Not only will this help teachers and other support staff learn their names, but it will also help ensure their safety during transition and dismissal time. (And have spare nametags — a couple of students will mysteriously lose theirs.)

2. Lunch Plan
If your school provides kindergarteners with lunch, know how each student will eat lunch. Find out how much students need for lunch. Have this information ahead of time so that you can answer parents’ questions. Make sure you have a procedure in place to collect money and pay for lunches.

3. Going Home
Make it your business to know how each student will get home from school. Find out if he or she is riding the bus or being picked up. Make sure the students are being released to the proper guardian or caretaker. Know this information ahead of time and communicate with each parent to find out if there are any changes. Write down each student’s method of transportation on his or her nametag to help ensure smooth dismissal — for example, “bus # 100" or “car rider."…

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