Congratulations on your appointment as a Kindergarten/Foundation/Prep teacher! This is a class like no other in a school, it is hard work but it is also so rewarding. You may be feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure about where to begin – that is completely normal (plus we are here to help you!).
To start, get used to routines as a kindy teacher! You will be teaching them to your students constantly because, in a Kindergarten classroom, routines are your friend! They will help your classroom run smoothly, allow you to get the most out of learning time and help your little ones feel safe and secure in the school environment.
Begin to teach routines from DAY ONE. Kindergarten students have never been to school so they don’t know what to expect, and it is a very different setting from what they might have been used to at preschool or daycare.
Routines need to be taught explicitly and with lots of repetition. Explain the routine, role play it, play games with it, practice it, draw about it, and practice it again!
As it is essential to teach routines so explicitly, you might be thinking ‘but when am I actually teaching?’ Dedicating time to teach routines and expectations, in the beginning, will be worth it in the long run. The more your students are comfortable and confident with routines, the easier your job will be as the year progresses!
That brings us to our list of essential routines to teach your little ones as they start school (we have broken them down for you to make it easier). Think about how you plan on tackling each one according to your teaching style and school context:
Entering and Exiting the Room:
- Unpacking their bags/lunch/lunch orders
- Checking for notes to give to the teacher
- Coming to the carpet quietly
- Lining up quietly in two straight lines
- Walking to the door, without running
- Collecting all the things they need for lunch/ recess/ fruit break
- Walking quietly through the school building
- Afternoon/ dismissal routine (Bring bags inside to pack them etc). You will need to have a wet weather routine for this one as well that includes dressing in raincoats
Within the Classroom:
- Putting hands up to speak
- How and where to sit on the floor + your expectations
- Tidy their table area
- Clean up the classroom – floor, workspaces etc
- Put things away where they belong
- Tuck chairs in
- Collect books from tubs/ where to hang up work for marking
- Routines for early finishers
- When its ok to disturb the teacher during small group instruction
- How to work in small groups
- How to work independently
- How to work quietly and productively during reading/ writing/ maths groups
- Transitioning from one rotation to another in reading/ writing/ maths groups
- Transitioning from one lesson to another
- Work presentation expectations (especially cutting and gluing)
- Packing up art and craft activities
- Going to the toilet during class time / how to ask
- Call and response / getting attention strategies
On the Playground
- How to line up after the bell
- Where to sit, what to eat for each break, where to play
- Your school playground rules and out of bounds areas
- What to do if you/someone is hurt
- What to do if you can’t find someone to play with
- How to go to the canteen / looking after money (if applicable)
- Going to the toilet during lunchtime
Remember, in a Kindergarten classroom, routines need to be explicitly taught and routines are your friend. Begin from a positive position and you will be off to a flying start!
Need more help, advice, and strategies for your kindergarten classroom? Check out our Kindergarten Teacher Survival Pack. It has been designed to provide you with a one-stop shop to help you with all your questions and queries as a Kindergarten teacher.
Great, practical resource with some excellent advice! A.G Kinder Teacher
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