Keep it Simple Strategies (KISS) – Classroom Management for Kindergarten teachers.
We’re launching a new series of articles showcasing great ideas for classroom management. We’ll start with Kindergarten, then move through the grades, with helpful additions along the way. Please feel free to add your own ideas; comment below and we’ll add your thoughts.
Tips for Kindergarten Management always include;
#1 Best Tip – Pre-planning
The first day of school was uneventful in my school, thank goodness, but it’s because there was pre-planning involved and cooperation on all sides.
# 1 Tip for your notebook:
Early in the school year, have two or three informal meetings with parents and their children. Divide the meetings into 3 or 4 groups so it’s not so overwhelming for both child and parent (and you). Here, you will introduce yourself and show everyone your school. During these meetings, you can introduce the children to their cubbies. An activity for these days might be to draw a picture of the child’s pet or teddy to attach to the outside of the cubbie with the child’s name on it. It establishes territory and cuts out a small part of the big world that belongs to each child. And, always have stickers at the ready.
#2 Tip – Avoiding Tears in Kindergarten
Distraction is a most important concept. If a child starts to cry, for any reason, have an activity ready to focus his attention on something other than his fears. Don’t disregard his fears though; his tears may be an inarticulate message to identify things or common events in your classroom that might be in need of revision.
An important skill is to know which students attended preschool and which ones did not. Kindergarten may be the first exposure to school for some. Their early days in school will be very different from the more experienced children. There is political will right now for universal preschool; if you’re an activist, this might be an issue you can sink your teeth into.
In general, for each and every day, have a plan and stick to the plan.
- Be consistent; have a plan B, C, D at the ready every day.
- Use the cubbie ritual as a grounding tool; Let the children bring one comfort item from home to keep in his cubbie. Let parents know this on your website and with your planning kit. A small stuffed toy works well for this. One Mom I know let her little one bring his “Minion” a plastic replica of the Minions in “Despicable Me”. It became the talk of the classroom, elevating this child to hero status on the first day of school.
- On your website, let parents know what your cues are. If you raise your hand to announce you want children to be quiet and pay attention, suggest to the parent that they start practicing this at home.
- Keep an attendance chart, have the children’s names on tag board cards that have hook and loop on the back to stick to the chart on the side that announces “I’m here.”
- Let parents know in advance the holidays you will celebrate and how they will be celebrated. Parents appreciate knowing this in advance. Have you ever been asked to provide 29 cupcakes the night before Halloween?
Tip # 2– The beginning of the year is the time to identify any emerging problems like bullying. I’ll talk about this in great detail in future articles, but now is the time to watch children on the playground to see if there are aggressors in your midst. Your entire class will brought into activities to manage this challenge right from the start.
Here are some resources to help you manage the early days of school:
- Survival Skills
- Ten Best K Teacher-Made Websites
- How to Make Your Own Website
- Kindergarten APPS
- What’s an APP?
- Quick Games for Your Mobile Device (distractions?)
- Pinterest for K Teachers
Add your tips and suggestions to our growing lists, teachers helping teachers is a great way to go. Check out the rest of our KISS Series here.
Neva Fenno, M.S.Ed., MLIS, has been a special education teacher, school library media specialist, curriculum specialist and grants manager for several urban school districts in New York and Massachusetts for 30 years. As grants manager for 7 years, she managed up to $28,000,000 a year in federal, state, foundation and corporate grants from application through fiscal administration. She has hundreds of stories to tell, not all successes, but from each story there is a lesson to be learned.