How To Set Up Daily Folders for Kindergarten

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I’m a big fan of teaching responsibility in kindergarten. One big example: you won’t find me stuffing folders – my students are capable of doing that themselves.

Want to know my secrets?

I think there are a few things you can do to make a daily folder setup successful and easy for kindergartners (and their parents) to use.

Here is how we had our folders set up and why.

If you love the way we have it set up – you can totally purchase the same printable labels used in the pictures to recreate it for your classroom too!

Kindergarten daily folder

Our folders are taken home every day and brought back to school. I choose (affiliate) “poly” plastic folders to last all year long. They are the two pocket kind with fasteners.

How to set up daily folders for kindergarten - add name labels

We get them out of backpacks in the morning as we filter into the classroom. They stay in our cubbies throughout the day.

We organize and put them in backpacks at the end of the day.

How to set up daily folders for kindergarten - keep in cubbies

We do it everyday. It’s part of our routine.

Let me walk you through the folder. Our daily folder has 4 main parts.

Front pocket

Our kindergarten daily folder has a front pocket.

How to set up daily folders for kindergarten

The purpose of the front pocket is to organize daily papers to take home. My kinders are responsible for putting their papers in.

Some examples of things that go in this section:

  • School newsletters/flyers
  • Lunch menus
  • Completed work done in class

Pretty much all of the “stuff” that we get in the course of a day or comes from the office goes home in this pocket. Parents sort through and take it out (hopefully) daily or regularly.

How to set up daily folders for kindergarten - stuff that goes home

How I made it

All I did to make this section was to add an “EMPTY” label onto the pocket and a one-line explanation.

I add a picture icon to the label so that non-readers (aka my brand new kinders) can successfully find and use it.

I printed a class set of the labels and simply stuck it on. I did cover the labels with clear packaging tape (wide enough to cover the label’s height) so that they would last all year long and stand up to grubby kinder hands.

Back pocket

The folder has a back pocket. We use this pocket to take unfinished work home.

There was a time that we had a weekly homework sheet. They kept it in there and didn’t take it out until Fridays.

When I ditched homework, we simply used the pocket to take home unfinished work (usually due to poor time management) that I expected to get finished.

How to set up daily folders for kindergarten - where to put homework

How I made it

Making this section was simple! I added a “WORK” label onto the pocket and a one-liner to make it easy for everyone to understand the purpose.

A picture icon made it early-reader-friendly.

Now, these 2 pockets weren’t enough organization on a regular basis for me.

I wanted to separate communicating behavior, special events and sending in money/forms/signed papers. So we used the middle fasteners (clasps or prongs) to hold an additional pocket and a monthly piece of paper.

Clear pocket divider

I added a (affiliate) poly slash pocket to make communication between home and me – stand out.

That way notes to/from the teacher didn’t get lost.

You can also snag these (affiliate) plastic dividers with pockets inexpensively too.

How to set up daily folders for kindergarten - parent teacher mail communication sleeve

As part of their daily routine, kinders check this pocket in the morning before putting their folder in their cubbies.

If they had “mail” for me they would take it out and place it in my teacher mailbox. I loved teaching this system!

It became their responsibility and I only had to check one location (my mailbox) of papers to get through. {Amen to working smart}

As you know how crazy going through papers daily can be – especially if there is a fundraiser, popcorn day or picture day… this totally simplifies it.

Everything gets put into one location.

Then during our morning routine, I can quickly sort through everything that has been put into my mailbox and then I easily know what (if anything) I’ll need to address or take care of later in the day.

Read more: How to Collect Papers Easily in Kindergarten

How I made it

I inserted a transparent slash pocket in the fasteners.

It’s see-through, which makes it easy on kinders, parents, and the teacher. Plus, the shape of the slash pocket means that kinders can slide full-size papers in and out on their own.

Aka: they can responsible to do it on their own.

I printed a “MAIL” label and stuck it on. The label has a picture and one line explanation.

Calendar insert

We kept a hole punched, double-sided piece of paper just behind the transparent parent communication mail sleeve.

This was hole punched so it could also go in the fasteners.

On the front side of the paper, we had a monthly calendar.

On the back, a reading log.

How to set up daily folders for kindergarten - parent calendar

The monthly calendar allowed me to remind students and parents of important events and changes.

It was also where my students recorded their behavior color each day.

They simply colored on top of the date in the small square provided.

How I made it

I printed a class set of the month’s calendars with a reading book log (to track at-home reading) on the back. I hole punched them and inserted them behind the mail sleeve.

How to set up daily folders for kindergarten - at home reading book log

As a side note – I did eventually teach students how to use the fasteners.

They learn how to trade out calendars when it’s a new month.

They count their leftover green days (and write that number on their new calendar) so they can continue working towards a reward coupon (which they got after 5 green days).

How to set up daily folders for kindergarten - track and reward behavior using color system

They turn these into my mailbox and I scanned them to keep a digital copy for documentation purposes.

They were rewarded for having read at least 10 books when they turned in their reading logs too.

Make your own

You can get your hands on the materials to create your own folders like these!

I’ve done the work for you so you just have to gather the materials and print. Here are the items you might need (with affiliate links) so you can get started right away:

Items needed for this project

Wonder if it really works in kindergarten?

Well, it did for me. But here’s what another teacher shared recently with me after she used it for a year…

“I used this system this past school year and I LOVED it! I love giving my kinders age-appropriate responsibilities and this is a great way to do that while also saving me the headache of daily folder stuffing.”

– Sara

While this folder is amazing – it won’t teach itself.

Teach students how to use their folders

Since I created this system, I knew I needed a way to easily show my students what papers went where on a daily basis.

Without me telling them every day.

That’s where my daily folder bulletin board came into play!

{silently sings *hallelujah*}

It was my solution to never having to stuff papers again and it just became part of our end-of-the-day routine in kindergarten.

How to Manage an End of Day Routine

There you have my secrets to creating an awesome daily folder in kindergarten.

Here’s what another teacher who tried this folder organization said after implemeting it:

“I would always have trouble with the parents and students understanding the [traditional] 2-pocket folder. Somehow I had some that would lose their work and/or informational papers from the school or our PTC. The simple addition of the mail pocket is heaven. The kids know exactly where to put their papers when packing up to go home and they know how to check their folder in the morning to see if there is anything to turn in! The parents this year have even stated how much easier it is for them to know that lunch money, classroom books, and such are being responsibly handled by their little ones! Many of my parents left the letter explaining how the folder is used in the back pocket of the mail insert so that the babysitter or grandparent knows what to do if they are pinch-hitting for them. Thank you for making my life SO much EASIER!”

– Tamra

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

More classroom organization

How to set up daily folders for kindergarten - love this setup!
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2 Comments

  1. I am making a grade level change next year from 6th grade to Kinder. I taught Kinder 22 years, but I know things have changed a bit. I’m already looking for ideas and I cam across you. Thank you for the tips.

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