5 Things That Make Your Life Easier as a Kindergarten Teacher


Being a kindergarten teacher is unique, challenging and rewarding. Here are 5 things that can make your life easier as a kindergarten teacher based on my personal experience.

I hope these can help you be the best version of you… but I’m guessing that you, dear fantastic teacher, are already doing them!

5 Things That Make Your Life Easier as a Kindergarten Teacher

The world of kindergarten is a world of its own.

We’re often misunderstood by pretty much everyone else (excluding other kindergarten teachers).

Our principals, other grade level teachers and even our students’ parents have their own assumptions of what we do.

It is up to us to share our best tips, ideas and secrets with one another… since we are the ones who really get it.

Here I go as I share from my class to yours. These can help save your time and sanity in kindergarten.

#1 – Positive recognition

Consider going positive as your default. While it may not always feel like it’s possible, being positive a huge game changer.

I’ve witnessed the results as positivity is the number one way to get more of the responses, behaviors, and attention I want to see from the kinders around me… They can smell it.

Positive Recognition - 5 Things That Make Your Life Easier as a Kindergarten Teacher - KindergartenWorks

It starts with the language you use the most.

It shows up in verbal praise/recognition, rewards like smelly spots or reward coupons, high fives or smiles.

It’s reinforced by your daily expectations because actions speak louder than words.

It’s gotta be specific praise/recognition or consider it a wash. {Although general is better than nothing at all}

#2 – Offer choices

Offering a choice makes your life easier and teaches responsibility. This is generation Z we’re talking about here people. They don’t know anything other than instant, digital, furious and options.

It’s the world we live in but they are most comfortable with it since they know nothing else.

Choices - 5 Things That Make Your Life Easier as a Kindergarten Teacher - KindergartenWorks

I’m not saying that they should choose whatever they want all day with no rules and la dee daah daisies and rose petals. That would flat out backfire.

What I am suggesting is that whenever you can, offer choice.

Choices that you, of course, have offered and picked prior. It will give them a sense of control, teach them to think through their choices/actions and create a more positive environment. (Tying back into point number one)

How can we do that?

Start with the easiest ways to work in offering choice.

Build options or a choice into your literacy centers.

Find a way to offer seating options throughout the day. It will also keep you from feeling like a robot kindergarten teacher and saying something about sitting on pockets a gazillion times. This totally goes along with point number four.

And of course, always praise and discuss why choices worked out well in specific instances.

Consider this: If you build in choices then it also gives you more small components of things to take away in the case of individual students failing to meet your classroom management plan. You automatically build in natural consequences. Failure to to use/do that option responsibly? You lose that option. Simple. Done… until you earn it back.

#3 – Routines are your friend

Let’s talk about kinders knowing what’s expected, not monotony.

Routine will be the biggest silent force in moving your classroom forward throughout the year.

When put in place – a routine will buy you back precious teaching moments (the real, teachable moments we crave), actually help you plan lessons more quickly and will empower your students.

Routine - 5 Things That Make Your Life Easier as a Kindergarten Teacher - KindergartenWorks

Your class knows what to do, what generally will happen next and you can be a whisper teacher.

They will eventually not need tons of transition support and you can steal away moments to talk one-on-one, help someone learn to tie their shoe while heading over to the rug, or take a moment to build up a child for the right choice they made.

You can plan lessons more efficiently because you know what areas to fill in and it’s not the… I have a random amount of time to fill here, what should we do… type of scenario.

You’ll also be able to reflect better on your most recent lessons and plan where to go next since your brain can more accurately recall that time of day.

The opposite is also true, if you lack routine it will be the biggest silent force that works against you throughout the year, steals moments and make students who crave routine feel uneasy.

#4 – Movement is crucial

When you’re five and six you can sit still… if you’ve practiced.

Consider how many of your students have practiced sitting with parents in church or watched a sibling’s sports events. {{so few}}

Those are the students who at the end of an assembly have managed not to look like a tangled marionette with strings tied to their elbows and knees.

Movement - 5 Things That Make Your Life Easier as a Kindergarten Teacher - KindergartenWorks

Sitting very still is also overrated. I’m often fidgeting with a pen… at any professional development meeting. I’ve used fidget toys and alternative seating as ways to build in more movement into what we do as “normal.”

Build in movement into your activities and lessons. Yes, kindergarten teacher, even into your discussions.

Find a gross-motor way to “show” the concept you’re talking about. You’ll reach more learners that way and you’ll give their bodies the needed chance to move.

While brain breaks are great, building it in is a more time efficient way to achieve a similar effect.

At the beginning of the year, I plan movement in 2 ways: by time and by transition. I plan nothing to go longer than 15 minutes (yes, exhausting).

Transitions are my way to get them moving, listening to my voice and learning/practicing a new attention-getting chant. This lengthens over time and they can increase their sitting skills.

#5 – Singing is magical

The best way for spreading classroom cheer is singing loud for all to hear. {wink} Singing or giving directions in a sing-songy voice (which is what I’m really talking about) is an easy change to implement into your day as a kindergarten teacher.

I use little songs to teach concepts like:

  • sorting
  • graphing
  • personifying vowels and letters
5 Little Songs That Teach {Freebie Downloads}

Download 5 Little Songs That Teach

I use sight word songs to teach how to spell our core 24-48 sight words and student names.

Singing - 5 Things That Make Your Life Easier as a Kindergarten Teacher - KindergartenWorks

Just pick a nursery rhyme tune and start giving directions to it. You’ll amaze yourself with your rhyming skills that will just flow, you can have students repeating you quickly and life just got a whole lot easier!

It literally takes no time at all, will quickly get student’s attention and balance out the classroom atmosphere.

If you like what I do here on KindergartenWorks, then subscribe today. I look forward to sharing ideas with you weekly.

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  1. Your songs are cute. I teach 3-4 year olds, and I made up a vowel song, too. (great minds think alike!)

    Mine is: (If your happy and you know it–surely the most overused tune in history!)

    a e i o u and sometimes y (repeat 3 times)

    We can sing the vowels, you and I!

  2. What do you use to organize scissors, glue sticks,pencils and crayons. I have used individual pencil boxes, table tubs, plastic bag with a basket. Help. Things still are dropped on the floor and lost.

    1. Hi Nancy,
      In the most recent year I’ve gone to individual pencil boxes – but yes, of course things end up on the floor. 😉 What really worked for us is to have this kind of system: https://www.kindergartenworks.com/classroom-management/responsibility-in-bucket-kind-of/. Then anyone can pick stuff up or get stuff they need – it switches more of the responsibility over to them which I’m a fan of. Hope that can help!
      – Leslie

  3. Thank you for your strategies! I had a tough class last year and am nervous for the start of this year. These helped to get more focused. I really work on organization in my classroom as well, can you tell me where you got the playdough stamp stand?

  4. Thank you for these ideas! They are all valuable strategies to use when teaching kinders. I think choices, movement and routine are the top 3!

    Ms. Williams
    The Teacher Treasury

  5. What great ideas, I had a teacher give me a paper clip once in 8th grade, she told me to bend it, twist it and fold it over and over again. She said it would help with my “perpetual motion” and I could learn to sit still longer and focus while my energy mindlessly plays with the paper clip. She was right, even as an adult I have spent my life killing paper clips at faculty meetings, but I could sit still instead of the desire to RUN and finish my workload! 🙂
    Have a great week,
    Fern Smith’s Classroom Ideas!
    Fern Smith’s Pinterest Boards!

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