I have a blog post about the first month back to school, but I thought it might be more helpful to narrow it down to the first week.
Do not worry about the academics just yet. Your timetable is the most important thing to teach the children about in those first few weeks. Whether you have one large class timetable or one for each child, start to teach it to the children straight away. It will help them feel safe and secure in school. A large visual timetable is my favourite.
Bring your class on walks around the school buil ding to help familiarise them with the whole building, not just your classroom. Narrate as you are going along explaining where everything is.
Get to Know You: Even if you have the same students you had last year, catch up with what they did over the break. If you have a new student try observe and engage as much as you can, while still giving the child space to get to grips with his/her new surroundings.
If you have new children starting, have a little scrapbook with pictures of the classroom areas, the school and staff in the classroom. The child can bring this home to go through it with parents to make school even more familiar!
Have a set of maybe three key rules displayed visually and go through them each day with the class.
This for me, is the most important aspect of teaching, whether in mainstream or in a smaller setting. You need to get the morning right! If you don’t have a strict routine in the morning then you may as well forget about the rest of the day.
Last year we had play for the first 30 minutes, then into circle time, songs and phonics. This year will be the same. I will still encourage the free use of toys, we will just have to sanitise them afterwards. I will have four children in 1st class this year so I may lower their play time to 15 minutes and let the infants play for 30, and get some extra work done with 1st class, I don’t know how that will go down though with the children though so I’ll have to play around with it!
Letter to Parents
Again if you have new children coming in, maybe send home a questionaire for them or the child if possible, to fill in, just simple things like my favourite toy, food, games etc.