With such an exciting school year ahead of you, we want to help make sure teaching experience is as smooth as possible. It's important to have the necessary tips and materials to be equipped to educate young children. With so many important skills to teach them, we've created a list of tips and resources to help you start and finish your school year strong.
1. How to Manage Your Classroom
Knowing how to manage your classroom is key! There are so many questions to ask before setting up your classroom. You should know how to keep order, set up learning centers, establish a discipline policy, coordinate classroom activities, and be able to effectively place students in groups. Never fear! There are so many resources available to make sure you know how to make your classroom a positive environment focused on a day full of learning.
- Addressing Challenging Behaviors
- Creating Inclusive Lesson Plans
- Celebrating Birthdays in the Classroom
- How to Have Effective Discussions with Your Students
2. How to Choose and Store Supplies
You can't have an effective learning environment if your classroom is cluttered! Make sure you are utilizing storage options that keep unused objects out of the way while clearly labeling items for daily use. Visuals will go a long way in aiding how students use your classroom for supply needs so label, label, label! Your classroom should be clean and make sense for daily student navigation. To make your life a little easier, check out our affordable storage solutions in the product list!
3. How to Get Parents Involved
To make it through the kindergarten school year, you'll need parental support to ensure the complete education of each child. Communication is key. You should focus on the basics–returning phone calls, answering emails, simply letting parents know that you care as much as they do! Not only should you be communicating, but you should be doing it often, as well. A good kindergarten teacher realizes that constant communication, whether through a monthly newsletter or individual notes on homework assignments, is critical to individual student success. Check out the resources below and the Family Engagement articles in our Insights and Inspirations section for more tips!
- Encouraging Families to Volunteer With Their Kids
- Building Positive Family-School Partnerships
- Planning Your Family Engagement Event
- Finding Ways to Get Parents Involved in the Classroom
4. How to Arrange Your Desks
Seating plays a huge role in determining how focused your students will be while you teach. Will you have them arranged in groups for learning stations or facing toward each other for reading circles? How many students will you have, and how will you most effectively utilize your classroom space? Inspiring Spaces for Young Children is a great resource for answering those questions and more, covering everything from furnishings to visual displays! If you're struggling with figuring out the best classroom layout for your students and space, check out the MyKaplan Classroom FloorPlanner. It's a free online design tool that lets you take Kaplan products and create a layout just for your classroom!
- Choosing Appropriate Chair and Table Sizes for Students
- Seven Principles of Early Childhood Classroom Design
- How Child-Sized Furniture Can Foster Independence
5. How to Maintain a Steady Stream of Lesson Plans
If you've taught kindergarten before, then you know how important it is to not only keep content flowing, but also to ensure that content keeps students engaged! With so many skills to help children develop, it can be hard to constantly come up with activities. Be sure to browse the Insights & Inspirations section of our website for activities and lesson that promote creativity, STEM learn, social and emotional development, wellness, and much more!
6. How to Motivate Your Students to Clean Up
By the end of the day, you'll want to know the secret to motivating students to clean up the mess they've made! After all, there's only one of you compared to a considerable amount of little hands always up to mischief! Some cute ideas for getting kindergartners to clean include creating a clean-up map, assigning tasks that rotate weekly, giving each student a specific number of pieces of trash they are responsible for collecting, and setting a time limit (15-20 minutes) to see how much they can race to clean up in a designated area.
- Clean Up Time
- Sanity Savers
7. How to Set the Pace in the Classroom
Pace is important in the classroom, as it will determine if and how long you've captured your students' attention. Pace your lessons so that you are only showing a couple of steps at a time and ensure demonstrations or discussions don't last longer than 10 minutes. If they do, chances are you've lost them. Group work will help keep a kindergarten class on the same level and help everyone to feel successful.
- Making Connections with Students at the Beginning of the School Year
- Outlining Student Goals for the School Year
- Back-to-School Guide for Teachers: Preparing for Students to Return to Class
8. How to Expect the Unexpected
You never know what your day will consist of as a kindergarten teacher! Whereas higher grade teachers can come prepared with the basics–pens, paper, construction paper, glue–kindergarten teachers have no handbook to go by! Here are a few suggestions to help you better expect the unexpected:
- Bring a spare change of clothing for students in case someone has an accident.
- Have non-latex bandages on-hand in case students have latex allergies.
- Keep hydrated! You'll need a large bottle of water at your desk after hours full of teaching.
- Keep a squishy ball at your desk in case you have a student who gets fidgety. This will help them concentrate and keep the class on track!
- Have stuffed animals prepared for Day 1! Sometimes, kindergartners get teary when it's time to say goodbye to mom and dad. Having stuffed animals to let them hold until they realize how fun kindergarten is going to be is a great way to make children feel safe.
9. How to Get Students' Attention
Kindergartners especially are prone to distraction. Before you start speaking, make sure all eyes are on you. Even if it seems to take forever the first time, give your patience a go and wait until you have the attention of the whole class. This will get easier each time as students become accustomed to what's expected. It is best to use multisensory cues such as asking, "If you can hear me, put your finger on your ear." Only after every student has complied do you start your lesson. This will save you from having to repeat directions so many times!
- Transition Tips and Tricks – Paperback
- Six Engaging Ways to Help Children Pay Better Attention
10. How to Survive
Smile! Every day spent with your kindergartners will be an adventure! If it's your first year, you'll have a lot of learning to do. It often takes several years for kindergarten teachers to feel they can effectively manage a class. The most important part is putting students first and approaching the class with optimism. Your students will take your lead and do the same, making the learning experience an enjoyable one for everyone involved. Because no one ever stops learning!