I always thought the beginning of the year was a bit crazy in Kindergarten – you are suddenly in charge of 25 + little personalities that all desperately need your attention at the same time. You deal with separation problems, bathroom issues, fears and tears, aggressive tendencies, and getting them all on the right buses to go home! But when we went to full day Kindergarten, that very first day just about overwhelmed me! The full day meant the addition of all the traumas of lunch time, and such a long day for tired children.
Fortunately, in my district we asked parents to come to school with their child on the very first day, and they stayed for a half day introduction to school. Part of the time we spent in our classroom exploring the materials, going over play ground rules, hearing a story and decorating our book boxes. Then I met with the parents in our Media Center while a paraeducator read a story, played a game, sang songs, passed out a simple snack and supervised the children. I think most Kindergarten teachers prepare a packet of important information for parents, but this gave us a chance to go over things in person, and answer parents’ questions.
Here was a basic schedule for the day – we had either 4 or 5 kindergarten classes each year, some groups came in the morning, the others in the afternoon.
The parents picked up this note when they arrived in my room:
1st day note
Here are the slides we shared during our talk with parents one year.
We had always given out a packet of the same information, but some parents did not read it, or remember it. We found it was much more effective to go over these details in person, and we could also answer parents’ questions. We still gave out the written packet.
We sent home a letter to the parents and children a couple of weeks before school, including this questionnaire.
At the end of this meeting I read an essay from the humorist Erma Bombeck. Many of you young teachers may not even know her name, but she was widely known as a columnist and she was even a regular on Good Morning America many years ago. She had a wonderful way of stating the feelings Moms all over our country shared. I liked to read it because even though it made some parents cry, it helped them to know that I understood some of their feelings about their child going off to school. I hope you love it too!