First Week of School!

Back to School is an exciting time! Each year brings new and interesting things to learn about. My son is 3½ right now, so this school year will be tailored to his age range (3-4). Please look back at some of the past lessons from the 2012-2013 year for lessons for ages 2-3.

This week we will be focussing on learning about the class rules, the expectations, and what is to come!


The Class Rules:
1. We are nice to each other
2. We play safely
3. We help keep our classroom clean
4. We use our walking feet
5. We use our inside voice
6. We listen to the teacher(s)

Discuss what each of these rules mean and how they are applied. For the whole week (and really, all year) we will refer back to these rules as necessary!  It helps to post these rules in the classroom where they can be referred to. Once the rules are well established, you can refer to them by their number.

What a teacher should expect of their students:

1. The children will respect each other, the teacher, and class materials and equipment
2. There are class rules and they will be followed
3. Physically or emotionally hurting someone is unacceptable
4. There is an awareness of time and can distinguish between work time and play time
5. They understand how to take turns, share, and work together
6. They do their best at all times

Talk to the class about these expectations. As long as each child knows what is expected of them, they are more likely to adhere to the rules. Talk about Good Choices and Bad Choices. Remember that the student is not bad, their choices are.

Introduce the Daily Calendar

In order to help young children understand the concept of time, it is important to have a Daily Calendar in the room which is reviewed each day. This will help them understand the days of the week, weeks of the month, and months of the year. It is also useful for learning about the Seasons and Holidays. You can make your own, which I have demonstrated HERE.  There are also many kinds you can buy pre-made. Here is one I like!


Color Mixing

For the first week we are going to do some extra fun activities, just to get everyone into the groove. Color mixing is a great first week science lesson because it is fun, messy and very colorful!

Materials Needed:
Plastic Paint Trays OR Ice Cube Trays
Large Bucket
Food Colors
Eye Droppers
Small, Clear Plastic Cups
Paper Towels, white

Mix the food colors in water in the clear, plastic cups so that they are vibrant. Give each child a mixing tray and an eye dropper.

Discuss how the 3 colors in front of them are called "primary colors". This means that they are the colors that will make all the other colors when you mix them together. For example, yellow and blue will make green and red and blue will make purple. You can make ALL kinds of colors by mixing colors together!

Allow them to explore this themselves. Show the kids how they can draw colored water up into their eye dropper and then drop it into a compartment of their mixing tray. Now add another color and see what happens! They should continue this and make as many colors as they wish. The large bucket is there so they can dump their mixing trays out and start over if they want to. The paper towels are for dropping a small amount of the colors they create onto them so they can be kept.


Introducing Transition Songs

Transitions are when we move from one activity to another. A really great way to help the class know what to do next is to have different transition songs designated for certain transitions. Singing can usually get everyone's attention easily and without having to yell.

Since the children will beging the morning by having some free-play time, we need a song to let everyone know that it is time to get together for Circle Time! Here is a good one:
(Tune: "Oh, My Darling Clementine")
Time for circle, time for circle,
Time for circle time today.
Let's sit down, let's be quiet,
Wonder what we will do today?

When the children are very active, or when you need them to settle down after an active activity, you can use this one:
Wiggles Out for Quiet Time (Tune: "Jingle Bells")
Clap your hands, stomp your feet,
Wiggle all around.
Reach your hands high in the air
And now let's touch the ground.
Hold your hips, hold your head
Give yourself a hug.
Sit right down, eyes to look,
It's time to read a book

When it is time to clean up whatever mess may have been made, use this:
Clean up, clean up
Everybody everywhere.
Clean up, clean up
It's clean up time.

You can also use hand gestures. I like to clap 5 times when changing gears. It means "mouths closed, ears open!".



Puzzles help kids in many ways! They help them learn to solve problems, coordinate their thoughts and actions, and begin to learn that the sum of parts make up a whole.

Today set out some age-appropriate puzzles and allow the kids to complete them. Once done, you can discuss the puzzle rules, such as making sure all the pieces are put back for each one. If you lose any pieces to a puzzle, the puzzle can no longer be used.


Name Recognition

Over the next month or so we will work on teaching the kids to recognize (or read) their own names! For the first week, make a sign for each child with their name on it. On the first day, take a picture of each child and add it to their name sign. Place their sign somewhere that it will be significant. They can be where the kids should sit, where their back pack should go, where their nap place is. Wherever you think works. You could even put a sign in each location. During the course of the week you should ask the kids to find their "spot". Associating their picture with their name will help them begin to recognize how their name is spelled. We will work more on this during the next few weeks.


Art - Draw Me A Picture!

This is an easy one, but great for getting to know your kiddos. Give them a piece of paper and crayons and ask them to draw one of their favorite things! Unless you have an art prodigy in your midst you will have to get them to explain what they drew. That is ok, because they just love doing that! Be sure to write their name and what it is on the back. These are great to store and look back at later in the year.

Craft - Garden of Friendship
This is great for helping the class to feel like part of a team!

Materials Needed:
Construction Paper
Pictures of the kids

Trace each child's hand and their feet with the pencil. The hands will be the flowers so make them pretty colors (you could let them choose so it will feel like it's "theirs") and the feet will be the leaves so they should be green. Make a rectangle (stem) for each child. You will also need a yellow circle for the center of the flower. If they are old enough, allow them to cut their hands and feet out or you can do it. Show them how to put their flower together and let them craft theirs. Once dry, add their picture to the center of the flower.

When all the flowers are done, create a garden on the wall. Call it your "friendship garden"! This is where all the new friends in the class can be together.


Here are some great books about school:

David's teacher has her hands full. From running in the halls to chewing gum in class, David's high-energy antics fill each school day with trouble-and are sure to bring a smile to even the best-bahaved reader.

There are lots of things that regular people can do, but teachers can't. Teachers can't ride a bike or scooter to school. And they can never be tardy. Teachers can't buy their own apples. And they can't teach their best without flowers on their desk. But first they really need some help cleaning the blackboard. And the erasers!
It's a wonder they come back to school at all!

If you take a mouse to school, he'll ask you for your lunch box. When you give him your lunch box, he'll want a sandwich to go in it. Then he'll need a notebook and some pencils. He'll probably want to share your backpack, too . . .

Getting to Know You Activity

You will need a soccer-sized ball for this. Get the kids in a circle and show them how to play the game. Toss the ball to someone in the circle and ask them a question about themselves, such as what their favorite color is or how many siblings they have. Once that child answers they get to toss the ball to another person and ask a question of them. You may need to help them with the questions, but this is a great way to get everyone together and learn some things about each other!



Super easy! Give the kids some playdough and let them create! Also provide some cookie cutters, plastic knives, forks, spoons, straws, and anything else you can think of for them to manipulate the dough. In case you want to make your own, here is a super easy way:

Scroll down a little on the page for the recipe. It is definately cheaper to make your own!


Cereal Necklaces

These are fun and easy! Provide a couple of different kinds of "o" cereal and some twine. Tie a plastic spoon to one end so that the cereal won't slide off the end while stringing on more! Let them make their necklaces then put them on. They can snack on them during storytime!

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