Back To School Ideas

I create a time capsule for each of my students. First each student decorates a piece of construction paper and then they tape this around an empty Pringles can. Inside we include a sample of the child’s writing, an illustration, a string to show their height, a page showing how high they can count and any other item that relates to the current theme. The time capsules are then stored until the last week of school. At that time students redo all the above activities. This is put together as a book, then and now. They and their parents enjoy seeing the growth that has taken place over the year.

Home/School Connection Folder

All Pre-K classes at our school use the same system to communicate with parents through a daily folder. Each child has a duotang folder (folder with two pockets and 3 prongs in the middle) that he/she takes back and forth from school and home daily. The front of the folder is labeled with a “Home/School Connection Folder” sticker as well as the child’s name. Our school handbook stays in the middle of the notebook secured by the prongs. It is there for easy referral of policies, etc. for parents. The pocket on the left side is labeled “Notes”. ALL notes going home to parents are put in this pockets. ALL notes, lunch money, etc. sent to school should be in this same pocket. The other pocket is labeled “Book”. The children choose a classroom library book to take home each day. This system has been great for us. It teaches the children responsibility in bring the folder to school each day. No more digging in book bags! It’s all in the folder!

Helping children who are upset when their parents leave: *Avoid ridicule. Never say things like” Only babies cry” or You’re in Kindergarten now, your too old to cry.” Reflect children’s feelings. “It’s sad when Mom has to leave.” Reassure the parent will return. Make up a song like My Mommy Always Comes Back. Allow the child to hold a lovely or security toy. Allow child to carry a photo of family. Engage the child in their favorite activity. Many children find clay and water play activities soothing and reassuring.

I usually send a letter to the parents, before school begins, with the following in the letter: Expect Crying. Your child may cry the first day. Your child may cry the second day. Your child may only cry in the morning. Your child may cry only when you arrive at the end of the day. Your child may not cry at all. If you are at ease, your child will sense this and feel better about attending school. Eventually, your child will stop crying and adjust to the routine.

At the end of August I send each child who will be in my class a “welcome to school” note. I tell them a bit about our classroom and the things we will be doing. I also enclose a picture of myself taken during our vacation over the summer. I ask them to think about where I was over vacation and who the people in the picture with me are (my husband and 2 daughters). The first day of school they feel more at ease knowing what I look like and a little about me. They have great fun telling me where I was on my vacation.

At the beginning of the year, I like to ask each child to bring in a snapshot from home. I interview each child in the first few days of school and ask them questions like, what is your favorite color, food, story, game to play, who is in your family, etc. Then, I copy their photos along with the interviews and publish a take-home book for each child. The children enjoy “reading” them at home and the parents enjoy becoming acquainted with other children in the class.