Hi friends! Welcome to day 1 of 31 Days of Kindergarten…a series of 31 amazing posts with ideas, tips, tricks, and FREEBIES!! Today is all about the First Day of Kindergarten!

What to Do on the 1st Day of Kindergarten

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate as a mentor in our school district’s new teacher orientation and collaboration fair. And If I had a dollar for every time I was asked “What do I do on the First Day of Kindergarten?”, I could buy myself a nice lunch! 🙂 So here goes what I do on my first day with my new kindergarten babies. Of course, everyone has their own style and comfort zone, so always do what works for you and your class! 🙂

We then discuss the rules and procedures for walking to lunch, during lunch, and then lunch recess. Next we line up and practice walking to the lunch room, where the lunch lady teaches the students how to walk through the line and get their lunch. We practice this 2-3 times and walk back to the kindergarten playground. We quickly review the recess rules and they go to play for 10 minutes.

We talk about our feelings from the first day of kindergarten and I write them down on an anchor chart. I tell the students that they are going to make a kissing hand for their mom/dad/guardian and I will help them.  I have them stand up and then help them go to their next station. (Remember that there are 4 stations in total and they have visited 2 before lunch.) While the students are spending time at their station, I call students over, one at a time and ink their handprint and press it onto their paper. The student then adds a red heart sticker and I ask them how they felt on the first day of kindergarten and write it down. The student then does their best to write their name.

Whew…that was a tiring First Day of Kindergarten day! 😉 Of course there will be interruptions and spontaneous situations, but I have left enough wiggle room in my day to address each unknown or unplanned situation. Try to remember not to plan too much. Be flexible. And practice, model and review ALL the rules and procedures you have taught for the day, over and over again. What does your first day look like? What would you add to this day or change? I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment here or comment on Instagram or FB and don’t forget to share with your teacher friends and pin to your Pinterest boards or follow my teaching kindergarten boards!

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65 Responses

  1. Excellent! Very thorough and oh so right about the constant practice and reminders about procedures and rules. Thanks for taking time to write this out and include photos and links for products!!!

    1. Thank you for sharing! Lots of great ideas not just for K teachers but also for other grades as well. maria

    2. Thank you for sharing your kindergarten day.

      Who is the composer for the Hands in lap song and Criss-Cross Apple Sauce

  2. How do you determine line order, if you use it. Who leads? Who is the caboose? One line? Two lines?

    1. For a line leader, I will try and choose a student that has had schooling experience and would make a good leader. And the same for a caboose. For the first few days, I will call them up in boy/girl order, until they fully understand what a line is and how to get in line quickly and quietly. I only have one line. On the 3rd week of school, I start classroom jobs and choose a line leader and caboose. Thanks for your questions.

    2. My kids always line-up in alphabetical order. They learn very quickly who lines up before them, and I LOVE doing this especially for those days when getting in line quickly is so important.
      Whoever is the line leader starts and everyone else follows.
      It changed my life when I started doing this 4 years ago.

      1. I love lining up in alphabetical order! It helps when you’re in a hurry making sure you have everyone!

  3. Thank you so much! very helpful! What a fun day, I bet the kids can’t wait to come back tomorrow!

  4. Thank you for this! I am teaching K for the first time this upcoming year and the more specific the advice, the better!!

  5. Great ideas! I love your thoughts on teaching how to use school supplies. Is there anyway I can get a copy?

      1. I would like a copy of your school supply. I saw that it is on Teachers Pay Teachers. It is not opening for me:( Your ideas and plans are terrific!

  6. This was extremely helpful! I will be teaching Kindergarten for the first time this school year. I’m coming from being a Pre-k assistant teacher. 🙂

  7. It is SO interesting to read the detailed plan of another teacher’s first day. This will be my third year of teaching K and I learn and adjust things every year. I will use this to reevaluate my own first day plans. Thank you for this!

    1. Thank you! And I totally agree…adjusting and learning every year to meet the needs of students!! 🙂

    2. This was the most helpful post EVER!!!!! THANK YOU!!! I’ll be a first year K teacher and I am so nervous and don’t know where to start!!! A couple questions:
      1. What stations do you do in your class regularly? Do you follow a daily 4/5?
      2. Where can I find more lesson plans from you?
      3. What did you do on a meet and greet day? We have an hour with the kids for a meet and greet and then they come
      Back on Friday for their first full day!

      1. Hello and thank you for the sweet comment! (1.)I have a whole series about stations and what I used in my Kindergarten classroom. You can view them here. (2.) Lesson plans are hit or miss, as I didn’t always get a chance to share them, but if you search lesson plan in the search box, you should be able to find some. (3.) Our Meet and Greet included parents, so I was usually busy talking to parents, but I did give my students little treats and then gave parents packets. You can get more ideas here.

  8. This will be my first year teaching and your page has made me feel at ease. I have an idea of how my first day is going to go now thanks to you! You have such great ideas. I keep clicking on all of the links that take me to different pages all of which continue to give me great information and tips. Thank you so much!!

  9. Thank you!! This is great for the 1st day. I have taught 5-6 and this is my first year teaching K.!!

    1. I am so happy to know that my posts and pictures will be helping a new kinder teacher! Have a great school year!

  10. Thank you SO much. I am a pretty new teacher and this helps SO MUCH! Please keep blogging…we need you! 🙂 Thanks!

  11. Thank you so much! This is my second year in Kdg. I was at a loss last year and really didn’t know what to expect. I’m more prepared and determined! Your detailed day just made everything so clear I can’t thank you enough for being so giving. I’m also learning that kindergarten teachers are one special group of people. 😘😘

    1. Yay! I love to help teachers! So glad you found my blog and found some tips to help you have a successful year!

  12. i HAve taught Kinder for 35 years, you nailed the first day! Good job and I picked up a few great ideas, thanks!

  13. Hi…I just stumbled across your 31 days of Kindergarten and I would love to have the whole 31 days.

    Please explain to me how I may access this since you blogged about this in July. I have went to the archives in July and don’t find it

    I absolutely love your ideas!!!.


  14. As a first year teacher, your very detailed plans are exactly what I need. I have never spent time in kindergarten, so I was feeling in over my head. I am feeling much more confident now.

  15. Thank you for sharing this! I”ve been reading as much as I can about the first day/weeks of K. I’m a second year teacher but this will be my first year in K, so planning how to keep the structure and what types of activities are super helpful!

  16. I was wondering if you could give me some ideas for the 1st day of school. This will be my 20th year of teaching, but I still dread the 1st day!! Our parents bring all of the school supplies on the 1st day (if we don’t get them then, we’ll never get them!) So luckily the past 5 years or so I’ve been lucky to have my now 23 year old daughter help me on the 1st day. She goes around to each student and gets out their supplies and puts their name on the items I need names on. While she’s doing that, I’m meeting parents and students, getting them to their assigned seats and getting parents to fill out a survey with questions I need for various reasons. Even when the parents leave, we’re stuck with supplies all over!!! My goal is to get all of their supplies out of backpacks and get them hung up. Depending on how many students I have, this could take most of the morning! Kids get bored, I don’t get to do anything fun!! Does anyone have any suggestions on how I could do all of this differently? Thank you!

    1. I have large bins with pictures of the supplies on them. Parents and students sort their own supplies, as they come in on the first day. This frees me up to talk to parents and meet with the students that I did not get to meet on meet-the-teacher day. If you want certain items labeled, leave out the markers or labels, so parents can do the work for you! And you can always give a special sticker to those students who helped their parents with this fete! Hope that helps! I also leave playdough out on each table for the students to play with while I am rushing around on that first morning! Playdough is open-ended and doesn’t have a ‘finished’ product, which is better than a coloring or dot-to-dot sheet.

  17. This is my first year teaching kindergarten, I have taught 5th, 3rd, and 1st so I have been super nervous about what to do on the first day of school. Your blog has been SUPER helpful and looks like lots of fun for the kids! I was curious if you created more posts about the beginning of the school year. I noticed the blog said “31 days of kindergarten.” I would love to read about what you do. I just purchased the “How to use School Supplies” on your TPT, which is an awesome, simple resource. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my post.

    1. Hi Nicole and welcome to Kindergarten! The 31 days of Kindergarten was a series I did last year on my blog, where I shared different ideas each day, during the month of July. So 1 idea a day. I realize now that others probably think that it probably a post about the first 31 days, which it is not. I do have a post about the 1st day of kindergarten and then the first week. Have you read those posts? Here is a link: http://kindergartenchaos.com/first-day-of-kindergarten/ or this one: http://kindergartenchaos.com/first-week-of-kindergarten/ And please reach out to me via email or here, should you have any further questions or concerns! 😉

      1. Thank you for explaining. I was looking for 31 days as well. I am a TA turning teacher. I am SUPER EXCITED!

        I have found some really rich ideas and look forward to future post. Your schedule breakdown on your LPs helps me in the break down since our time schedule is possibly changing to 9 am-3 pm. We use to be 8 am to 3 pm. Is it possible to get the link to a blank copy of the plan?

        Thank you for your time and expertise in this area.

  18. I can tell you are an awesome teacher! I am a PreK teacher and love your classroom management ideas for breaking down the first day! Thank you for your creativity and time involved in your blog it is greatly appreciated!
    I am curious about your “chime.” What specifically are you using, where did you get it and does it help you with the children’s loud volume of their sweet voices? This is my biggest challenge in my PreK class. Any ideas or solutions please advise!
    Looking forward to your next day’s blog!

    1. Awww…thank you so much!I just have a regular small chime that I would jingle for transitions or as an attention-getter. You can get chimes at any multi-purpose store, such as WalMart, Target, Family Dollar, etc. But I started using a wireless doorbell for transitions recently and it really works too. I just purchased it off of Amazon for around $13. As for the noise level, explicit expectations, many activity choices and keeping each station with 2 students each, also helps to reduce and keep the noise level down. I hope that helps!

  19. Thanks so much for sharing a very detailed first day! I am feeling a little better about the first day now. 😊

  20. Wow, it is always a big thing for me to check what new things I can implement in the first week of school for my students. I truly love the details of your experience. Thank you so much for sharing.

  21. Thank you for explaining. I was looking for 31 days as well. I am a TA turning teacher. I am SUPER EXCITED!

    I have found some really rich ideas and look forward to future post. Your schedule breakdown on your LPs helps me in the break down since our time schedule is possibly changing to 9 am-3 pm. We use to be 8 am to 3 pm. Is it possible to get the link to a blank copy of the plan?

    Thank you for your time and expertise in this area.

  22. Where do you keep your materials? Are they shared? Do you keep pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, and glue in a community tub or do you put scissors, glue, and markers somewhere else until they are needed? What are your feelings about markers? When do you let your kids use them? Thanks so much for your posts. I love the details!

  23. I found it interesting that you state that it’s important to learn how to use and hold writing utensils first. My brother has a little boy that is starting kindergarten this year and he wants to know what to expect. I will send him this information so he can make sure to learn as much about the first days as he can.

  24. Great post! I do things very similar which is very reassuring. I’m starting my 3rd year of teaching kinder this year so this is a great refresher! Thanks for the tips!

  25. This was great! I am a 14 year teacher but I will be starting my new adventure in Kindergarten this year. I’m a little nervous about the first day and I loved how you really broke the day down and included links! It was Awesome! Thank you!

  26. It’s a great idea to teach your kids bathroom rules beforehand so they understand what to expect when they start going to school. I’ll try to use your article to get them ready for kindergarten so that it can be a positive experience. They are starting this month and I think they will have a great time learning and playing.

  27. Children taught at an early age usually benefit in the following ways: improved social skills, less or no need for special education instruction during subsequent school years, better grades, and enhanced attention spans.

  28. Can you talk a bit more about what your No, David anchor chart looks like? Do you happen to have a picture?


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