We all know the importance of starting a day off on the right foot! We have all had that day where something goes wrong, whether it be getting stuck in traffic or forgetting your lunch in the refrigerator. Having your day begin in such a way can throw off your whole day and create feelings of anxiety and unhappiness. Although such incidents cannot always be avoided, we can help prevent our preschool students from feeling this way about their day at school. Young children need structure and routines to feel secure in their environment. By having a clear morning routine to start a day at preschool, children will know what to expect and feel safe at school.
What Do I Do with Early Birds?
The hardest aspect of creating a morning routine in preschool is that the arrival times of students often varies greatly. The question often arises of what to do with the students who arrive to school early. As a teacher, you do not want to start teaching any pertinent material until all students are present, so what do you do? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It is up to each individual teacher as to what they want their students to do. However, one very common answer is table activities.
Table activities is pretty much anything the students can work with while seated at a table. These activities can include puzzles, coloring, looking at books, small toys, manipulatives, clay, and more. These activities stimulate the children’s minds while keeping them relatively calm and controllable while they wait. Providing activities that have educational merit is also important in making every moment worthwhile.
Another activity that you may want to consider is free play. Much like table activities, the children are open to choose the activities they want to take part in. However, they are not required to stay seated at a table. This can include block play, a water table, a sand table, or climbing activities. They may also do table activities during free play.
How Do I Start the Day Once Everyone is There?
Everyone is at school, so what do you do now? While many people like to do circle time and calendar first thing in the morning, making the students feel comfortable and important at school is the first priority. By allowing each student time to adjust to the environment and feel included, it will have positive consequences for the rest of the day. Below is a list of possible morning activities to get your day off to a great start!
- Sing a greeting song. There are many available on the Internet and children’s CDs. One popular choice is The Good Morning Boogie.
- Have a sharing circle. Have the students sit in a circle. Each morning go around the circle and allow each student to tell you one thing they want to talk about. It can be anything from their favorite movie to what they did last night. This will allow each child to feel that what they have to say is important. It will also cut down on interruptions later in the day with stories. If a child does not want to share, allow them to pass.
- Start each day off with a star of the week activity. Choose a student each week to be your "star!" Each day, have that student share something different with their class. Some examples may be a poster of pictures, reading their favorite book, a question and answer session, a show-and-tell of a favorite toy, a "report" about themselves, a self-drawn portrait.
- Begin the day with a morning warm-up. This can be both a physical and mental warm-up. You can have students do stretches, jumping jacks, toe touches, and even some simple yoga poses. One easy way to include a mental warm-up is to have the students count how many exercises they are doing. You can also ask them to sing their alphabet while jumping or ask review questions.
When Should I Do Circle Time Activities?
Many people think of circle time as an opening activity. So when should you do circle time if you start with one or more of the above activities? It’s simple! These things can easily be led right into each other. For the above activities, the students can be done in a carpet area. This makes for an easy transition into circle time activities. For wonderful circle time ideas, go to Preschool Circle Time: Start Your Day with a Routine.
These morning activities are a great way to start the day off on a high note! No matter what you do, just remember to make your students’ needs your priority. Routine, routine, routine!