How to Prepare for the First Day of Kindergarten


It’s the night before school starts and the classroom is ready. What should a kindergarten teacher have ready for the first day of school?

Here are some of the basic things I had prepared ahead of time for the first day of school.

Prepare for the First Day of Kindergarten

Here is how I lay out my stuff in order to roll out my first day of kindergarten.

Put your read-alouds within arm’s reach

The night before school, I put one of my social stories about our classroom restroom, out and visible on my easel. There is always someone who has to go to the bathroom within the first 15 minutes of kindergarten. Always.

Remember – teach the bathroom early and right up front so you can start off with the right habits and expectations.

Kindergarten First Day - Setup Snapshots

Keep the rest of our stories tucked behind in a magazine file holder/book bin. Keep them within arm’s reach so that you don’t have to go looking when you sit down to read.

You’ll see that (affiliate) Pete the Cat and Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes have their rightful space.

Prepare stuff to teach procedures and routines

I keep a couple of teaching icons and procedural materials tucked into some of the books since I’ll need to have quick access to them later in the day.

Kindergarten First Day - Setup Snapshots

I have three social stories that I read on the first day of school.

I will read these almost every day for our first week and use them to re-teach the second week or to work with students one-on-one. It helps me from having to herd them all like cats, all day long.

Students can live through my actions and visualize themselves doing the steps. I tried to hit the most multi-step parts of our day (like getting folders ready) and the things we need to practice the most.

Kindergarten First Day - Setup Snapshots

We have a special note taped into the back of our second trade book read aloud for the day. It’s a letter from Pete the Cat inviting us to go on a school tour to come and find him as we check out our building.

I love using this to practice hallway procedures and to add movement into our afternoon.

He leaves us a coloring page and I add a certificate on the back where students use the space to write their names.

Kindergarten First Day - Setup Snapshots

And I also have a last-minute activity we can do if we have time – and isn’t a big deal to push until the next day if we don’t. But I’ll share more on that in our first day of school schedule.

Have stuff to take attendance

I’m prepared to take attendance before we enter the building since we congregate outside the first few days of school.

I’ve got my class list with first names so that I can mark them off as I meet or re-meet them.

I have blank name tags in my clip so that I can label anyone who didn’t come with one we sent home in the mail.

Kindergarten First Day - Setup Snapshots

This helps get me off to a good start making sure I’ll have everyone and be able to call out names those first few minutes before I have every name and face memorized – which I normally get by lunch!

Prepare individual student things

The other set of things that I prepare for the first day of school is to have things labeled.

If I have a class list to work from – then I label student:

Let’s wrap it up

There you have it – what I have prepared for the first day of kindergarten. This list may seem pretty basic – but you’d be surprised how much really gets done with very few things needed.

If you want to read about our schedule for the first day of school in detail, then check out my entire first day of kindergarten lesson plans.

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

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    1. Hi Jolene, I use that as we introduce handwriting formations for each letter of the alphabet. We use rainbow books so I use the poster as I model to use as a reference. Check out my handwriting posts for more info!
      – Leslie

          1. I am so excited to see that you are going to make the Rainbow Modeling poster available to print. I already have purchased the Rainbow Letter Writing Book and love it!

  1. I am using social stories this year. I have one for the restroom what other stories do you use on the first day/week?

    1. Hi Sue, I also use the other two seen in the picture above. I use it for the lunchroom and getting folders ready to go home since those are parts of our day that really need to go smoothly right from the start! How about you?
      – Leslie

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