You join a special club when you become a kindergarten teacher. There are only a few of us who have what it takes to manage the littlest students moving in a hundred directions at once. Teaching kindergarten is also a special opportunity to introduce children to school and instill in them a love of learning. In honor of you who teach this grade, we’ve scoured our WeAreTeachers Helpline to bring you 50 of the best ideas and tips for teaching kindergarten.
Table of contents
- 1 1. Start at the very beginning.
- 2 3. Use a washable stuffed animal as a class pet.
- 3 7. Choose amazing read alouds for the first week of school.
- 4 8. If you can, work through a couple of recommended professional development books over the summer.
- 5 9. Keep little fingers cleaner with this trick!
- 6 11. Plan your circle time well.
- 7 12. Read the perennial Kindergarten favorite, The Kissing Hand.
- 8 13. Help the parents of your students on the first day. This is a tough transition for them too!
- 9 14. Connect with your students’ parents.
- 10 16. Teach kids how to make friends.
- 11 18. Routine, routine, routine.
- 12 19. Combine multiple objectives into a single lesson.
- 13 22. Host a Pajama Day.
- 14 24. Bring technology (in small doses) into the classroom.
- 15 25. Keep in mind that the kids have expectations too!
- 16 27. Laugh with your kids.
- 17 29. Connect with a community of educators outside of your own school.
- 18 30. Organize your instruction around themes.
- 19 31. Give your kids visual cues to help them follow your directions.
- 20 33. Fill your classroom library with these classic kindergarten books.
- 21 34. Teach with centers.
- 22 35. Find a spot for some “reading buddies” in your classroom.
- 23 37. Track all of the sight words you’ll teach this year with a word wall.
- 24 40. Organize your classroom well.
- 25 41. Bring your sense of humor.
- 26 42. Keep a “sub tub” on hand for those days when you just can’t make it into school.
- 27 44. Teach word families.
- 28 45. Plan a wedding for Q & U.
- 29 48. Use music for EVERYTHING.
- 30 50. And last, but certainly not least, give them lots (and lots) of time to play.
- 31 What are the qualities we inculcate in our students?
- 32 Language Arts
- 33 Math
- 34 Religion
- 35 Social Studies
- 36 Science
- 37 Music
- 38 Physical Education
- 39 Art
- 40 St Patrick’s Day Resources for Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Kindergarten Students
1. Start at the very beginning.
“Don’t assume they know how to do anything. Teach them everything. How to knock at the bathroom door, how to close it behind them, how to wash hands, throw away towels … routines, routines, routines.” —Shannon T.
“Be ready for kids who are readers, kids who have never seen letters, and everything in between. I love my kinders dearly and find so much joy in watching their little light bulbs go on for the first time! They’re a different bunch to be sure, but they’re a blast!” —Maggie V.
3. Use a washable stuffed animal as a class pet.
Low maintenance (essential for teaching kindergarten), high fun! Kids will love taking turns bringing it home to care for it over the weekend.
One of the most repeated themes on our helpline post about teaching kindergarten was that you should always over-plan for this age group. These activity sticks are a fantastic safety net when you suddenly find that your lesson when twice as fast as you expected.
“Plan lessons/activities that last no more than 15 minutes, with some kind of movement activity in between. (Moving from the circle to the table counts, as does clapping a pattern, or head, shoulders, knees and toes.)” —Anne H.
“I teach routines, rules, but I also go on some kind of ‘adventure.’ My adventure is going through the school to find where everything is, the bathrooms, the nurse, the front office, the cafeteria (which we practice going through the line), library etc. I’ve done fishing where I have fish (or a jungle animal if that was my theme) hanging at each place and they collect them in a bucket as we go around taking turns and collecting through the whole school. They love it.” —Dana H.
7. Choose amazing read alouds for the first week of school.
8. If you can, work through a couple of recommended professional development books over the summer.
Experienced kindergarten teachers are recommending The First Days of School by Harry Wong and Cornerstone by Angela Watson.
9. Keep little fingers cleaner with this trick!
“Glue sponges! There are several videos online for making them. So awesome to not deal with the bottle of glue mess or those littles who can’t close the bottle and spill glue in their supplies!” -Anita D.
“Get at least one extra set of hands for at least the beginning of that first day. They will all come in and need/want your attention and there is so much to do. As a retired teacher, I go in for the first hour every day for the first week of school just to help with ‘crowd’ control. Just an extra pair of hands that knows what it’s like to be a teacher.” —Judy N.
11. Plan your circle time well.
Make it short, sweet, and active.
12. Read the perennial Kindergarten favorite, The Kissing Hand.
“It relates to their first day of school and has many activities.” —Betty B.
13. Help the parents of your students on the first day. This is a tough transition for them too!
“You will have a room full of parents on the first day, so to have a smooth goodbye I wrap a box with Kinder Bear (any stuffed bear) inside. After the kids are sitting on the carpet I tell them that I have a friend I’d like them to meet, but that he’s shy. I pretend to listen to the bear and tell the kids he wants you to say bye to mom & dad so he can come out and play. The parents will ‘get’ the message and leave and the students will be eager to meet Kinder Bear!” —Denise B.
14. Connect with your students’ parents.
Make plans to keep the lines of communication open. Put out a stack of envelopes on back to school night and ask parents to address them. Use them later to touch base with the families in your class.
“Remember they are 60-month-olds! That always gives me perspective the first few weeks teaching kindergarten.” —Michelle K.
16. Teach kids how to make friends.
Some of your students will do this naturally. Some of them will need your help. How to be a friend is one of the most important lessons they can leave their first year of school with.
“For my lines in the hallway I say ‘There’s a cloud with marshmallows falling down (wiggle fingers like they’re falling from above), everyone, catch a marshmallow!’ Pretend to catch and say ‘now put it in your mouth and chew chew chew chew and keep your finger on your lips so it doesn’t fall out’ until you get to the cafeteria, playground etc. They’ll walk around with their cheeks puffed up pretending to chew. Some might say they ate it so tell them to catch another or it’s too big to eat the whole thing and keep chewing! I’ve heard teachers say ‘catch a bubble.’ It’s the same concept. When I need instant silence I say, ‘Catch a marshmallow!’ and there is quiet immediately.” —Heikel F.
18. Routine, routine, routine.
Veterans who’ve been teaching kindergarten for years said this again and again on our helpline. Probably more than any other age group in elementary school, kindergartners thrive on their routine. “Plan fun and easy activities for the first week so you can keep focused on the routine.” —Sarah S.
19. Combine multiple objectives into a single lesson.
Teach children number sense and fine motor skills at the same time. The kids will love using the hole punch and will be improving their number sense at the same time.
“I would have them do a self-portrait the first day and then another one the last week and watch the difference! You will want to start and demo one of yourself just to give them an idea of what to do. You might be surprised at the results and your parents will save it forever—mine did. I still have one I drew as a kinder or first grader.” —Julia A.
“Don’t worry about the curriculum. Just focus on the routines and rules. One of the best bits of advice I got from a professor was that the kids WANT to love you so don’t be afraid to be strict with the rules and set down your boundaries right out of the gate. I’ve been teaching for 20 years and I learned that the hard way. Have fun, play games, let them see your playful side but take the time to let them know what is expected of them.” —Julie S.
22. Host a Pajama Day.
Have your kids come to school in their jammies and plan a whole host of fun activities for the day.
“Read Twas the Night Before Kindergarten and take a LOT of time to set rules and routines.” —Erica F.
24. Bring technology (in small doses) into the classroom.
Check out Mrs. Wideen’s Blog to find great ideas for using technology when teaching kindergarten. She recommends apps and lessons for iPads.
25. Keep in mind that the kids have expectations too!
“Kids go to their first day of kindergarten expecting to learn how to read that very day. So you have to do some choral reading of big books or poems so that they know that they have begun to learn to read. Just one big book. Read it many times that day. If they go home seeing themselves as scholars on the first day of school, you will have set the tone for the whole year.” —Becky N.
“When I switched from teaching second grade to teaching kindergarten, I was exhausted for the first two months. It’s physically taxing.” —Karen E.
27. Laugh with your kids.
Kindergartners love to laugh as much as the rest of us! These 25 books will add some humor and levity to your day.
“I like playing ‘I have, who has’ games. I take their picture on the first day of school and create an ‘I have who has’ game with their photos, it’s a great way for them to learn names plus I use their picture for everything” —Lisa G.
29. Connect with a community of educators outside of your own school.
For example, “Participate in #kinderchat on Monday nights on Twitter. Great people from all over sharing their experience.” —Richard B.
Follow WeAreTeachers on Facebook for great discussions too.
30. Organize your instruction around themes.
When you structure your lessons thematically, you provide your kids with more “hooks” for learning.
31. Give your kids visual cues to help them follow your directions.
Anchor charts and classroom decorations can help them remember your expectations.
“I have my kids line up on numbers. They stay on the same number all year. This saves so much time. We can line up in less than 15 seconds. Their toes touch the number but don’t cover it so I can see it.” —Debbie N.
This blog post from Kindergarten Works gives you all sorts of recommendations.
33. Fill your classroom library with these classic kindergarten books.
This chart lists 100 titles to teach with in your kindergarten classroom.
34. Teach with centers.
Here are three different posts with ideas on how to organize your center time. It’s one of the easiest ways to work through your curriculum while teaching kindergarten.
- From Sharing Kindergarten
- From Mrs. Hoffer’s Spot
- From Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten
35. Find a spot for some “reading buddies” in your classroom.
Gather together a few stuffed animals that your kids can make friends with and read to during the school day.
There are so many different fun ways to celebrate the 100th day of school. We’ve got a whole collection of ideas for you on our WeAreTeachers Pinterest board.
37. Track all of the sight words you’ll teach this year with a word wall.
You’ll find the kids referencing this wall often as they start to do their own writing.
Put a spaceman stick down when you get to the end of a word so you know where to start the next one!
Kindergarters are the perfect crowd for all things Dr. Seuss. WeAreTeachers has a whole board dedicated to the event on our Pinterest page. Check it out here.
40. Organize your classroom well.
Sometimes teaching kindergarten doesn’t give you even a second to catch your breath. You need to be able to find everything you need for your lesson without a lot of fuss, otherwise, you’ll lose them. Keep your classroom organized so that you can always find what you need for your next lesson. We like these tips from Kindergarten Schmindergarten.
41. Bring your sense of humor.
Kindergarten teachers must have a sense of humor. The kids will likely be making you smile all day long with their adorable sayings, but make time to find some teacher humor too. This post from The Kindergarten Connection should do the trick.
42. Keep a “sub tub” on hand for those days when you just can’t make it into school.
Fill it with lessons and activities that your sub can do with your students if you have an unexpected absence.
44. Teach word families.
It’s tried and true. Here are a few lesson ideas to get you started.
- 20 Free Kindergarten Word Family Sliders
- OP Family Workbook
- Word Family Bulletin Board
45. Plan a wedding for Q & U.
The kids love this! It’s such a fun way to introduce the letters and a little bit of spelling.
It’s proven. Brain breaks and movement promote learning for all age groups, but especially kindergarten.
Number sense is key in kindergarten. You’ll want to cover it again and again.
48. Use music for EVERYTHING.
“Music is needed, and is a good way to transition. Find a morning song and an afternoon song (can be the same tune with different words) to start and close your day. It makes a world of difference.” —Anne H.
“Check out HeidiSongs DVDs for letters, sounds, sight words.” —Lisa T. Plan fun annual events for your students.
Whether it’s a Kindergarten Tea or a spring BBQ, kindergartners love traditions.
50. And last, but certainly not least, give them lots (and lots) of time to play.
“Playtime teaches kids how to get along with others so that they can effectively learn in a classroom. It’s so important, especially in kindergarten.” —Michelle S.
What are the qualities we inculcate in our students?
We, the Mary ward women in the education ministry keeping Jesus as our model, aim at forming fearless and vibrant citizens. Who are able to face the challenges of life.
Believing that education is a powerful agent to social trans formation, We try to imbibe in them sincerity , love for the poor, sensitivity towards the needy, truthfulness in their day today activities, mature way of their behavior especially when the mistakes are made. They humble enough to acknowledge it. Caring the environment and keep it clean.
They do believe in success by doing hard work. Students acknowledge their role by greeting the teachers and the elders. The students are taught to respect and love all the religion and festivals. They are promoted to take part in various religious festivals too.
To incorporate a feeling of patriotism Independence Day and Republic day are also celebrated in the school.
Kindergarten Reading, Students Will Develop:
- Recognition and writing of upper and lower case letters.
- Sound/symbol relationships.
- Recognition of sight words.
- Ability to identify rhyming sounds and understand the concept of opposites.
- Reading with fluency.
- Ability to use pictures and prior knowledge to decode and make predictions.
- Ability to identify the parts of a book.
- Understanding that letters, words, and sentences are different.
Kindergarten Writing, Students Will:
- Use beginning writing skills.
- Use phonemic awareness, letter-sound knowledge, letter formation, and directionality of print to express ideas.
- Develop confidence in writing words and will progress to writing sentences.
Kindergarten Mathematics, Students will:
- Recognize, count, and write numbers 0-20.
- Sort objects by color, shape, and size.
- Recognize 2 and 3 dimensional shapes.
- Identify, create, and extend patterns.
- Use positional words.
- Examine and utilize tables, graphs, and fractions.
- Exhibit addition and subtraction readiness.
- Identify coins and their values.
- Use a calendar and explore day, month, and year.
- Count to 100 by 1’s, 5’s, and 10’s; and count to 50 by 2’s.
- Explore measurement.
- Compare two items (greater than/less than).
Kindergarten Religion, Students will:
- Read and discuss the lives of Saints.
- Develop an awareness of The Trinity.
- Discuss the seasons of the Church.
- Understand the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
- Understand that we are a reflection of God’s love.
- Understand that we must reflect God in all our actions.
Kindergarten prayers include:
- Our Father
- Hail Mary
- Glory Be
- The Prayer to the Guardian Angel
- Grace before Meals
- Sign of the Cross
Kindergarten Social Studies, Students Will:
- Develop an awareness of family, community, and school.
- Explore cultural diversity.
Kindergarten Science, the Student Will:
- Investigate weather.
- Explore nutrition and staying healthy.
- Investigate the four seasons.
- Examine planting and growing seeds.
- Develop basic computer and SMART board skills.
Overview: The St. Mary’s School Music Curriculum is standard for all grade levels. These standards are to be included as part of the teaching process in elementary general music and middle school music to accomplish the assessment of the five competencies in musical skills. They are aligned with both the national and statewide standards.
Kindergarten Music, the Student Will:
- Sing or play on instruments a varied repertoire of music. This includes appropriate technique, accurate pitches and rhythms with the proper range and degree of difficulty.
- Create music.
- Read and notate music. The includes reading, identifying and executing rhythms, melodies and expressive qualities with very easy literature in regards to key, meter, rhythm and range.
- Listen to, analyze, evaluate and describe music used in the classroom.
- Relate music to various historical and cultural traditions.
Kindergarten Music, the Student Will:
- Become more beatful, tuneful and artful, by following the 12 steps of Music Literacy designed by Dr. John M. Feierabend.
- Readiness rote Song Songs and rhymes are learned by rote that will contain rhythm and/or tonal content to be studied later.
- Conversation Solfege Rote where students bond rhythm and tonal patterns with aural labels.
- Decode – Familiar which requires aural recall and decoding of songs and rhymes presented by rote at the Readiness stage.
- Decode – Unfamiliar.
- Create – Think original musical thoughts.
- Reading Rote – Introduction to notation symbols.
- Reading Decode – Familiar.
- Reading Decode – Unfamiliar.
- Writing Rote – Learn to write notation.
- Writing Decode – Familiar.
- Writing Decode – Unfamiliar.
- Writing Create or Composition.
- Be introduced to hymns and repertoire of the Catholic Church to be sung at prayer service and weekly Thursday Mass.
- Perform at least one concert per year.
Kindergarten Physical Education, the Student Will:
- Explore Human Movement: body awareness, movement patters, develop self space, locomotor movement review, non-locomotor movement review.
- Explore Animal Movement: compares, contrasts and performs animal movement to human movement.
- Memorize and repeat patterns, sequencing, reasoning, number patterns through movement, and thought patterns through movement.
- Examine Health: nutrition and wellness, eating healthy foods, and exercise.
- Discuss Safety: know what to do in an emergency, using sport equipment safely, knowing which areas are safe and which are not.
- Develop Teamwork: listening skills, following directions, group work, and cooperation.
At St. Mary’s Catholic School, we strive to create an artistic atmosphere where students gain confidence and creativity through hands-on experience. We offer a variety of artistic media to inspire our students. We encouraging them to explore their imagination and use math and reading skills in their projects.
Kindergarten students learn about the color wheel, primary colors, mixing secondary colors, using line expressively, texture rubbing, symmetry, sculpting with various clay, sharing how they feel about a work of art, learning how to care for art supplies and materials, including clean up, displaying art work and appreciating the work of others.
St Patrick’s Day Resources for Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Kindergarten Students is a post from contributing writer Dianna Kennedy
Whatever your heritage, in March, EVERYONE gets to be Irish for a day. My husband’s family hails from the Emerald Isle, so we have loads of fun celebrating. In our city, we have a large Irish community, so the celebration goes on for a week or more!
Ready to throw a green party? I’ve collected some of the best St Patrick’s Day resources, including books, crafts, printables, and recipes, to get you started with your young children.
St Patrick’s Day Resources for Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Kindergarten Students
1. Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland
We’re big fans of Tomie dePaola in our house! We also use his Book of Bible Stories in our homeschool curriculum.
This book tells the story of St Patrick and covers some of his most well-known legends.
For Christian families, the shamrock is a great way to teach about the Trinity. Add some fun to your art projects with this shamrock stamper made from a pepper or this one made with three corks!
Here is a coloring page about the Holy Trinity using a shamrock.
2. The Story of Saint Patrick
This book also covers the story of Saint Patrick, from prisoner to slave to saint.
You’ll find instructions for a St Patrick puppet and more with Lacy of Catholic Icing.
Here is a whole learning packet that focuses on the real Saint Patrick.
The kids will also love these festive shamrock sandwiches from The Kennedy Adventures.
3. St Patrick’s Day Alphabet
Ready to work on alphabet skills? You can explore Ireland with your children, with each letter of the alphabet.
You can grab this free printable Saint Patrick’s Day learning packet – covering math, letters and more!
4. St Patrick’s Day in the Morning
My children are so excited to be able to attend the St Patrick’s Day parade in our area this year! This sweet story of young Jamie’s first parade experience is sure to delight young children.
Stuck with nothing green to wear? Don’t miss this tutorial so you can make your own shamrock shirt! You could also make this rainbow necklace to work on the colors of the rainbow.
Before you head out to the parade, plan some time for some fun with this rainbow printable pack.
5. A Fine St Patrick’s Day
The annual St Patrick’s Day decorating contest is underway, and this year gets turned upside down by a tiny special guest!
For a fun snack, you can fix your children some Leprechaun Pudding, then make this adorable Leprechaun beard!
6. The Night Before St Patrick’s Day
What do you do when you catch a leprechaun? Look for his pot of gold, of course!
Your little leprechauns will have loads of fun with rainbow crafts and working on math facts with their own pots of gold.
Your kids will also love this project to make rainbow colored playdough along with some sparkly gold playdough as well!
7. The Leprechaun’s Gold
Kids will enjoy this story of the classic Irish legend about a music competition between two harpists.
Continue the fun at home with G is for Green printable packet. Kindergarten students will love this crystal shamrock experiment.
You may also enjoy using this Trinity Song from Catholic Icing for St. Patrick’s Day.
8. The Story of St Patrick’s Day
This board book is great for your younger students. You’ll see symbols such as shamrocks, rainbows, harps, and more.
Little ones will enjoy the hands-on fun of shaving cream shamrocks. You can find a treasure trove of St Patrick’s Day resources and craft ideas over at First School.
9. The Luckiest St Patrick’s Day
Do your children enjoy rhyming stories? Be sure to add this lively book to your reading basket!
I’m planning on making this shamrock suncatcher with my little ones – the cutting and gluing are a great way to work on fine motor skills. You’ll find many St Patrick’s Day game ideas for children to celebrate over at Making Learning Fun.
10. St Patrick’s Day
This wonderful book by Gail Gibbons covers all the details of St Patrick’s life, as well as the common symbols of St. Patrick’s Day. She also has a series of books covering other popular holidays.
Start off your children’s day with a fun St Patrick’s Day breakfast, as well as a shamrock craft and song.
Other St Patrick’s Day Resources You May Love:
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. They don’t change the price you pay. However, when you shop through them, we may receive a small compensation. Thanks!
St Patrick’s Day Resources for Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Kindergarten Students was originally published on March 7, 2012. It was most recently updated in March 2018.
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