Instead of writing a letter to your class from the teacher at the beginning of the year, send a letter from your class pet. This will get the children excited to see the pet and will help ease the scared ones.
Last year I had kindergarten and we started the year by everyone telling the one thing they missed most about home…. and the one thing they wanted here at school! Then our dinosaur puppet “spike” and I talked about the things we would get to do here at school, art and field trips were the main highlights, and explained how cool it was to be able to make new friends who could tickle our giggles out if we needed help. Nothing big, just made us all feel better. On the tree in the middle of our room I had apples with everyone’s names and birthdays! They loved seeing they were allllllll important in our room!
Our preschool holds an open house each year in order for the staff and families to meet. The children get to come in and become accustomed to their new classroom. One of the biggest problems we have is matching each child with their adult caregivers during pickup time after school each day. In order to make that easier from the first day of school, our teachers ask each child to bring any adult that is allowed to pick them up from school to the open house. We then take a family portrait with the child prominently in front. We label the picture with the child’s name and use it as a reference’ to help each child find their caregiver at the end of the school day. This provides a boost to the child’s self esteem since we display the pictures prominently in the hall as they arrive in the morning. Then at dismissal, it serves as a reminder to the teacher about what each adult should look like.
We always ask our pre-k children to bring a picture of themselves so that we can make a friendship book. I have the children tell me about their family, pets, favorite color, food, and what they want to be when they grow up. It’s all put in a spiral notebook and each child gets a chance to take it home to show their parents their classmates.