Getting Started In A New Grade and School

As I return to blog about my experiences this year, I have a different perspective of some of the challenges that September brings. In addition to a new program (Full-Day Kindergarten), I am also at a new school. The change is exciting, but learning the culture and practices of a new school takes time, as occasional teachers know all too well.

During the first week I was focused on creating an inviting and supportive environment for all the new students, and with staggered entry the number of students grew each day from 17 to 26. However, I was also getting accustomed to the many bells (bells for students and bells to remind teachers of duty), locating printers that were close to my classroom for print jobs, and learning school protocols for various incidents.

In addition to Carmen’s good advice in the previous post, I would like to add:

  • Be flexible. We love to plan, however flexibility is needed throughout the day dependent on the needs of the students, your colleagues, and your administration.
  • Be innovative. You may not have the materials or resources that you want for your ideal program, so draw on your own creativity and innovation.
  • Have a sense of humour. When things go array, see the humour and enjoy the laugh.
With Phase III of the Full-Day Kindergarten program being launched at my new school, we are all adapting to the unexpected. It helps that we communicate daily on what is working to establish consistent routines for entry, lunch hour, and dismissal in all the FDK classrooms. My classroom was previously a Special Education classroom. I set up the room with limited resources and furniture, though it is expected to arrive soon. We are waiting for a carpet, chairs, easels, and kitchen units for the drama centre. However, some creative borrowing has provided the necessities for the first few weeks of school.
I am attaching a photo of my room (15) before the make-over to a Full-Day Kindergarten room. Then I will post photos as the room evolves with materials, resources, and the children’s work. If anyone is interested in ideas for centres, let me know and I can also add a specific post in response to a question.
Room 15 (Before becoming a FDK room)

The Author


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