Well—let’s say—if at all possible, please don’t…
1) Don’t collect all the supplies bags
Many kids bring shopping bags full of supplies. Some are for personal use, such as pencils and crayons. Others are for shared class activities, such as glue, markers, or tissues. Don’t collect the supplies and place them all in the back of your classroom. You’ll find that many students did not label their supplies and you’ll never figure out whose they are.
Don’t let kids unpack all their supplies either. This will make a huge mess, and it will be awkward for kids who don’t have any supplies. Unless you have parents or a teacher’s aide helping you unpack and sort supplies during those first few minutes, kids can leave their bags on the floor next to their chairs for the moment.
Later you can unpack and sort the supplies yourself. Or, during a writing activity you might let an early finisher help collect certain supplies.
2) Don’t bring students to the meeting area first thing
Have kids sit at their tables, where you have placed their name tag, and quietly read a book.
Take care of meeting and greeting parents and kids, seat them, make name tags for the kids who don’t have one, take attendance, and make a quick seating chart.
3) Don’t give kids toys or manipulatives first thing
Give them each a high interest book to read, and place a basket with more books on their table. Coloring and toys can become a—you guessed it—huge mess until they know the rules.
4) Don’t do anything until you teach rules
Be clear and detailed starting from the very beginning: teach exactly how to get out of your chair, push it in, and walk to the meeting area quickly, quietly, and sit carefully in your right spot.
Don’t say, “Boys, line up,” “You, go to the bathroom,” or, “Everybody, go back to your seat” until you’ve taught them precisely how.
5) Don’t ONLY teach rules
Do fun stuff, too. These will soothe kids’ first day anxieties and create the expectation that kindergarten will be wonderful. Sing a song, make them laugh, read a fun book, let them write and color, give them a sticker or award…and leave them wanting more!
In other words, don’t do anything you will later regret and wish you could un-do...
Please do...have a pleasant first day of kindergarten!
For more don’ts and plenty more dos on the first days of kindergarten, you might want to study my Kindergarten Kit Bundle. It’s thoughtfully compiled by yours truly, a longtime kindergarten teacher, and it will take you step-by-step through your first day and beyond.