The first day of preschool is an exciting chance to welcome children to your center and start your upcoming year together on a positive note. When you’re planning the first day of preschool activities and crafts, you want them to be fun and engaging tasks that inspire children and support them get to know their teacher and peers.
Welcoming children on the first day of preschool
1. Provide comfort for separation anxiety
The first day of preschool is a chance to care for children who may have anxiety about being separated from their families. Comfort them with a friendly demeanor and help them look forward to learning and spending time at preschool.
2. Support children in building friendships
Use the first day of preschool activities as a prime opportunity to create connections between the children. Their activities can be fun to learn more about each other and lay the foundation for future friendships.
3. Introduce the teacher(s) to the children
Children are undoubtedly curious about you as the newly-acquainted adult they’ll spend a lot of time with. So let children get to know you with an activity where you share a few facts about who you are and what they can expect from you as their teacher.
Read on for the first day of preschool ideas for teachers who want to welcome children into their classroom with activities that instruct and bring smiles!
First day of preschool ideas for teachers
1. Read a book about the first day of school
Utilize your read-aloud time to read a book themed around the first day of school. Books support everyone—including children—feel more connected and calm. The books below can assist children in easing any anxiety about their first day of preschool and inspire them to embrace what’s ahead.
- Little Critter: First Day of School
- Berenstain Bears Go to School
- Pete the Kitty's First Day of Preschool
- Our Class is a Family
- Curious George's First Day Of School
- Rosie Goes to Preschool
2. Have a classroom tour or scavenger hunt
Help children adjust to their new learning environment by showing them around the classroom. Point out the most important supplies and the proper places to store their belongings. Then, make it a game by turning it into a scavenger hunt!
3. Play a “get to know the teacher” game
Make introducing yourself to preschoolers more memorable by playing a “get to know me” game. Children may not remember a list of facts, but they’ll perk up for a guessing game with funny options!
Create a list of fun facts about yourself and get the children to guess which one applies to you. For example, “My favorite color is blue, I used to have green hair, and I love cats more than any other animals!”
4. Sticker name activity
Name-based activities are perfect for the first day of preschool. This one requires a little preparation, but it’s a simple way for children to use their creativity and begin to introduce themselves.
Write out or draw (with space in the letters) each child’s name large enough for them to put stickers on top of or inside of the letters. This activity not only gets names circulating among the children but helps children learn their names and letters.
5. Play “Our favorite things” activity
Building a giant list of favorite things is an exercise that everyone can participate in. First, write out categories, ask children what their favorite things are, and have the children draw their favorite things on a piece of paper. It doesn’t have to be legible—ask the children to explain what they drew as you walk around the room! Drawing has many benefits for young children, including improved hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
6. Invite children to co-create classroom rules and procedures
Sharing the classroom rules and essential procedures with children is an integral part of the first day of preschool. Before the first day of school, write out a list of classroom rules and plan how you’ll guide children to participate in naming them. Their participation is also a great ice breaker that will help them get to know each other and remember the classroom rules.
You can even make a game out afterward to further help children retain the information. Quiz children on what to do in certain scenarios (how to apply the rules and the correct procedure) and reward them with a small prize for correct answers.
7. Pass the ball
All you need for this activity is a ball made of a soft material and a predetermined “fun fact” for children to share. Children will slowly pass or gently toss a ball around. The child who catches it will share their name plus the fun fact (their favorite color, favorite animal, favorite food, etc.).
8. First-day self-portrait
A first day of preschool self-portrait is a great way to celebrate and makes a wonderful keepsake that parents will love. Ask children to draw a picture of themselves on the first day of preschool. You can use this free printable first day of school self-portrait worksheet or create your own template!
Make the most of their first day
For a preschool teacher, few things bring more joy than welcoming a child to their first day of preschool. As you plan for their first day, remember that your excitement is contagious, and your smile can help put children and parents at ease.
With the fun activities you plan, you’ll help children feel comfortable and adjust to their new environment. We hope you have a happy first day of preschool!
Brightwheel is the complete solution for early education providers, enabling you to streamline your center’s operations and build a stand-out reputation. Brightwheel connects the most critical aspects of running your center—including sign in and out, parent communications, tuition billing, and licensing and compliance—in one easy-to-use tool, along with providing best-in-class customer support and coaching. Brightwheel is trusted by thousands of early education centers and millions of parents. Learn more at mybrightwheel.com.