Teacher Appreciation Week is the perfect time to show your childcare and preschool teachers how grateful you are for their hard work and dedication to children. This article details creative ways to celebrate the staff in your program so you can remind your teachers how much you value them and boost morale at your center.
What is teacher appreciation week?
Although we should express our gratitude for early educators all year long, Teacher Appreciation Week is a nationally-recognized week set aside for honoring teachers and the important work they do. Every year, Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated the first full week of May and includes Teacher Appreciation Day, which is typically the Tuesday of that week.
Preschool teacher appreciation ideas
Because the early educators in your program are all unique and have different interests, it’s best to plan a variety of Teacher Appreciation Week ideas to ensure that every teacher feels known and celebrated. For example, while some of your teachers may love sweet treats, others may feel more appreciated through spending quality time together or receiving a heartfelt note. To learn more about your staff members’ preferences, you can always send out a survey before Teacher Appreciation Week asking what kinds of gifts and activities they enjoy most.
We also gathered some great ideas from our community of early educators in our Teacher Appreciation Week webinar. Whether your teachers prefer affirmations, treats and gifts, or fun activities, there’s something for everyone in the list below!
Teacher appreciation week affirmations
- Give handmade notes and artwork from students
- Host an awards day where every teacher wins a trophy for something special they bring to the program
- Send digital eCards
- Send a personal, handwritten note to each teacher sharing what you appreciate about them
- Decorate classroom doors with thank you notes from parents and students
Source: My Silly Squirts
Source: Leap of Faith Crafting
Source: California Teachers Association
- Record appreciation videos from parents and students
- Ask families and students to respond to the prompt “why my teacher is a superhero” through notes and drawings
- Invite parents to share words of appreciation about their child’s teachers
- Make a candygram for each teacher
- Invite teachers to share shout-outs with each other
- Go out of your way to give each teacher a sincere compliment
- Share shoutouts to your staff on social media
- Reach out to alumni families for words of appreciation
- Make a collage using photos of your teachers with their students
- Use kudo boards in the break room that all staff members can contribute to
Preschool teacher appreciation gifts and treats
- Organize a rotation where parents can volunteer to bring coffee, baked goods, or lunch for the week
- Offer “room service” by giving teachers a door hanger with a snack menu. Teachers can “order” snacks by filling out the hanger and leaving it on their door, and someone will deliver their snacks directly to their classroom.
- Give teachers additional time off
- Put together wellness bags with self-care gifts like candles and face masks
- Create “coupons” where you offer to take on a teacher’s less desirable day-to-day responsibilities, such as changing diapers
- Give teachers balloons and flowers
- Put out gift bags for every teacher in the hallway so parents can contribute goodies to each bag
- Give each teacher a house plant
- Ask parents to donate $5 gift cards for teachers, such as for coffee or fast food
- Give your staff personalized coffee mugs
- Treat teachers to a car wash during school hours
- Order lunch for everyone
- Stock up the break room with sweets and snacks
- Order each teacher’s favorite Starbucks drink to be delivered during the school day
- Decorate your center with fresh flowers
Fun activities for appreciating early educators
- Host a Make Your Own Sundae Day or a Smoothie-Making Day
- Organize a scavenger hunt where staff can find notes of appreciation throughout your center
- Throw a hot dog party, pizza party, or Taco Tuesday party
- Set up a coffee bar or a mobile coffee cart
- Have a Tie-Dyeing Day where you give each teacher a white t-shirt with your program’s logo that they can tie-dye
- Treat your staff to a manicure or pedicure
- Organize a staff potluck
- Have a food truck cater lunch
- Treat teachers to a massage day
- Set up a waffle or pancake bar for breakfast
- Throw a painting party
- Put together teacher talent shows and fashion shows
- Offer daily tea time for the entire staff team
- Share homegrown fruits, vegetables, and flowers
- Make time for daily dance breaks
- Create a staff playlist with everyone’s favorite songs
- Celebrate each day of the week with a theme, such as sports jerseys, decades day, silly hats, etc.
- Host a surprise party at the end of the week in the break room or parking lot
- Have a classy white elephant gift exchange
- Invite families to participate in a bake-off and ask teachers to be the judges
In addition to these activities, it is also important to prioritize your employees' career development and growth. Using a staff evaluation form and conducting annual performance reviews, will help your employees feel valued and connected to their work.
Your preschool teachers are essential to running your business. It's important to acknowledge all their hard work, in both big and small ways. Use these suggestions as inspiration as you celebrate your staff during Teacher Appreciation Week and all year round.
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