5 Ways to Prepare your Preschool Classroom for Next Year
The beginning of the school year can be hectic. It doesn’t matter if you have taught 20 years or 2 years, we all struggle to stay organized and focused with the millions of tasks we need to complete. Preschool and kindergarten teachers not only have recreate their rooms each year, they have to have them up and running prior to the school year starting due to open house and orientation. This can leave teachers frazzled and overwhelmed. However, there are things that you can do now that are simple and won’t interfere with your already crazy schedule. 1. Laminate Nameplates and Cut-outs you Plan to use the Following Year. After teaching 8 years in a district based 4K, I have learned that if you don’t start prepping before the end of the school year-you may be paying out of pocket costs. Most schools have employees in charge of making copies and laminating and many of these positions start a few days before school and by then, you have already had open house. So I always have nameplates, name tags and bus labels laminated by the end of the year. When class lists are posted in August, I label everything using a permanent marker.
2. Prepare Child Folders
As a part of our program hours we have a preschool orientation and open house. At the open house each family gets a folder for their child to use throughout the school year. When school starts and there is no one to make copies, I end up making a stop at a copier store and foot the bill. Prepping folders prior to the end of the year saves time and money.
I make sure that each page is a certain color. That way when I discuss the pages at orientation I can refer to the color in case they are out of order. District forms that change each year, I place in piles on a table near the entrance. While parents wait for their child’s folder, they can grab the needed forms.
3. Classroom Week by Week Calendar
Items that are used on a daily basis like the calendar, alphabet, weather chart and job charts receive a lot of wear and tear throughout the year. If there is damage to the items I will reprint and laminate or replace. I place the items in a tub labeled “calendar,” which I can easily find at the beginning of the year. The calendar is the focal point of the classroom and can be very time consuming to set up, so having all of the pieces fresh and ready to go will help with set up time.
Week by week calendar available (here). 4. Classroom Behavior and Routine Charts One of my behavior management tools that I use is a play center rotation chart. This board takes a lot of wear and tear throughout the year as well. To save time my assistant or myself update this activity during our last few days of school by replacing the ripped library and center cards. I store this board in a poster box and it is easy to pull out and have attached to the wall prior to orientation.
5. Arrival Routine and Folder Box
Another activity that I like to prepare ahead of time is our arrival board and folder label. Each day the boys and girls place their owl on the board and their folder in the folder box before heading to the carpet. Get a copy of the folder label and “Who’s here today? sign (here).
Most of the items that I like to have prepped and ready are things that will make the room presentable for open house/orientation. I want the parents and children to have an idea of how our daily routines work and I like to make reference to these important routines throughout orientation.
Also, the summer is a precious time to myself and family. I want to spend as much time at home as I can prior to returning, so the more prepared I am the less time I have to spend in my hot classroom:)