Fall is a busy time, and it will be especially challenging this year as many of you return to in person instruction, while still navigating new health and safety regulations-on top of the regular routine of getting your childcare program ready for fall.
With more to do, It's easy to start to feel overwhelmed. To save you a little time, energy, and money I've gathered up some of my my favorite tips, freebies, blog posts, and resources from Pre-K Printable Fun to help you get ready for back to school.
1. Be kind to yourself
I've listed this first, because it's the most important. We can't care for others, if we don't care for ourselves. Doing our best is all we can do. This advice rings true-but especially during a pandemic (or crisis). Our best is going to look different depending on the week, or even the day. Allow yourself grace even if you don't have the perfectly planned day, or if your perfectly planned day doesn't go as planned.
Make caring for your mental and physical health a priority. Schedule extra self-care time for yourself, and your students this year.
2. Make them feel welcome
Think of a special way to welcome children into your program each day. Having a welcome routine, where you take just few minutes a day to welcome the children into your program, will help them build a stronger relationship with you, and ease their fears around drop off time.
One fun way to welcome new children into your program (and practice name recognition) is to encourage them to sign in with a daily sign in and sign out activity. They will love coming in and finding their names each day! Other fun ways include a special daily greeting such as an elbow bump, or a dance off!
3. Create a Visual Schedule
Children crave routines! With a visual schedule children can predict what's going to happen next in their day. A visual schedule is also a great way to help keep you on task, and focused throughout your day.
4. Assign Jobs
You don't have to do it all! Delegate! Kids love being helpers. Classroom transitions go much more smoothly when everyone helps! Encourage independence, and develop self help skills with a job chart.
5. Observe and Assess
Start the year off using my free assessment pack to assess where the children in your care are developmentally. Knowing which developmental skills the children in your care are working towards will help you more effectively plan lessons and choose the activities that are appropriate for your program. Be sure to track their developmental progress and record it throughout the year.
6. Set up a Wishlist
Throughout the year many parents are looking for ways they can help, or donate your program. Set up a wishlist in your classroom! Use our free Classroom Donation Signs here.
7. Use our freebies
Use our free activities to compliment your lessons, lean on us we're here to help!
8. Spruce up your learning spaces
Need some ideas on how to spruce up your learning spaces? Check out our learning spaces series, full of inspiring photos shared by our readers. Help parents and staff understand more about the learning that is happening in your learning spaces each day with this FREE set of Preschool Center Signs!
9. Plan your lessons ahead of time
Start your school year organized! Pre-K Printable Fun has done a lot of the work for you! On our site you can find 50+ themed lesson planning pages, free preschool plans, and a ready made theme pacing calendar.
On these lesson planning pages (found under the Themes tab at the top of our site) you will find: free sample lesson plans, educational activities, process art ideas, related Pre-K Printable Fun products, and suggested items to add to your learning spaces that are perfect for your home daycare or Pre-K at home lessons!
10. Improve fine motor skills
Strong fingers and hands are important so that children can work towards developmental goals such as pre-writing and improved self help skills. Plan fine motor activities this fall.
11. Make time for a group meeting
Group meeting time is a great opportunity to build social emotional skills such as working as a team and taking turns. Short on space? Make your meeting time a snap! This circle time binder makes it easy to conduct group meeting time wherever you are, including outside!
12. Plan more process art
Planning Crafts and facilitated art projects take up a lot of time! Offer more open ended art. Find several process art activities here.
13. Plan your meals in advance
By planning and knowing your meals and snacks ahead of time you are able to save time preparing and shopping.
14. Spend less time searching for activities this year!
I know how much time you spend looking for educational activities to compliment your lesson plans. Let me help you re-gain your free time! Join my Pre-K printables club! As a member you'll have unlimited access to my complete library of current and any new releases during your term.
15. Save money on Printer Ink
The reality is: Childcare Providers use a lot of ink. From printables to forms it's easy to spend hundreds of dollars a year on ink cartridges. Consider placing your printables inside dry erase sleeves (which also makes for easy cleaning) or read this post to see how I was able to take advantage of the HP Instant Ink program to save $100's of dollars a year!
16. Learn How to Make Printables more engaging
Combine your printables with hands on manipulatives! Place them in sensory bins, or even take them outside! Check out this post for some more fun ideas!
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