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Volume 3, Issue 16
August 30, 2005


Back to School

WELCOME! to Education World's Early Childhood Newsletter. Every other week, I'll share some ideas on a familiar teaching theme. Hopefully you will find a new activity idea or two -- or a new twist on one of your old favorites! Since I know you are very busy, I'll be short and sweet -- like most of activities I suggest.

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A little girl had just finished her first week of school. “I’m just wasting my time,” she told her mother. I can’t read, I can’t write, and they won’t let me talk!”
--Author Unknown

Although many children today have had some practice in separating from mom or dad for a period of time, most young children find that starting school is an exciting yet scary experience. Experts say that keeping children busy in a nurturing, low-key atmosphere is an important component for a successful back-to-school experience. We hope you find that our activity ideas and classroom tips support your program and help both you and your students as you ease into a new school year.

Susan LaBella
Editor, Early Childhood Education Newsletter


Read to children The Kissing Hand (Scholastic Books), by Audrey Penn. Talk about how Chester Raccoon felt and how his mom helped Chester feel better. Place a heart sticker on each child’s hand. Children who might feel lonely or sad during the day can be reminded that the sticker stands for their family’s love. Children need only to hold it up to their cheek to get a kiss from a loved one.

Create a binder to help children get to know the adults at school. First take a picture of all the adult helpers children will encounter each day at school. Mount a picture onto each page and add that person’s name and job. Then write next to each picture

Little one, little one,
who do you see?
Mrs. Smith, the director,
is looking at me." 


…and so on. Share the binder with children at circle time, asking them to repeat the reply from each page. Children will love taking part in the rhythm and rhyme and will soon know who everyone is.

Invite children to draw pictures of themselves doing a favorite activity at home. When the pictures are complete, have children bring them to circle time. Go around the circle and invite each child to share his or her picture. Help each child say

"The picture that Im holding,
was made by me.
Now Ill put it on the floor,
for everyone to see." 


As others view the creations, ask questions, encouraging children to describe their pictures and to talk about what they show.

--- Make a name tag for each child. Gather children in a circle as you stand in the middle. Bounce or roll a ball to each child as you say, “I am happy (child’s name) is in our class.” When everyone has been mentioned, have children pass the ball around the circle. The entire class repeats each child’s name as he or she holds the ball.
--- Write each child’s name on an index card. Cut the card into 3 to 6 puzzle type pieces and invite children to put their puzzles together. If children master the puzzle quickly, try cutting it into more pieces. Note: Use a different color for each child’s name, so children don’t mix their puzzle pieces with another child’s.
--- Write individual letters on cards. Gather the children in a circle. Hold up one card and ask children whose names begin with that letter to stand up. Say the letter aloud asking children to repeat it. Continue until each child has had a turn to stand.
--- Read I Like Me! (Penguin), by Nancy Carlson. Then invite each child to stand up, say his or her name, and tell one thing he or she likes about him or herself.

Create a large yellow school bus out of poster board and give it a window for each child in your class. Staple the bus to a bulletin board. Take a picture of each child’s face and cut it out. Paste each child’s face in a window of the bus. Label your bulletin board Mrs. Smith’s Back-To-School Bus.


Check out the following Web sites for more background and activities.

Preschool Education.com
Find coloring pages, printables, and more all on the themes you teach.

Back to School
A helpful first-day checklist and some first-day activities to jump start the school year.

Starting School
This comprehensive list of books about starting school will surely meet your classroom needs.

Back to School Activities and Crafts
Look for lots of back-to-school educational activities, crafts, coloring pages, and more. Plus find an index of activities for every other holiday you can think of.