Preparing for the New School Year

August 22, 2023

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Excitement. Jitters. Uncertainty.

The new school year comes with a multitude of emotions and challenges — but thankfully there are things you can do ahead of time to prepare and ensure it’s the best one yet.

At ChildCare Education Institute, (CCEI), we’ve spent the past 20+ years helping early educators like you get the training they need to be the best possible teacher inside and outside of the classroom.

That’s why we’re sharing our tips to help you get ready to welcome students into your classroom for the 2023-2024 year.

Do some late summer cleaning.

Last year’s student artwork has likely come down, but your bulletin boards might need to be spruced up. It’s also may be time to recycle all the old paperwork and lesson plans taking space in your files and throw out the broken crayons and dried-out paint sitting in your art stand.

Now’s also a great time to think about your classroom layout – perhaps you want to move your reading nook to a different part of the classroom or reorganize the manipulatives center.

Finally, while you’re moving furniture, it’s also best to give your room a nice deep cleaning and sanitizing before the kiddos (and their germs) arrive.

Get organized.

While you’re fixing up your classroom, channel your inner Container Store enthusiast. Make sure you have systems to keep everything in its place, including a filing system to help you stay organized and plenty of storage for classroom supplies, toys and more. Our motto, when in doubt, it’s always better to have too many containers than not enough. Be thoughtful about the materials you put out on the first day and create a system to rotate new materials from the supply closet on a regular basis.

Revisit, revise and create your lesson plans.

Before the school year gets into full swing, review your existing lesson plans to see if anything in the curriculum has changed since last year. After all, best practices and recommendations for teachers are constantly changing, so you want to ensure your lessons are always incorporating the most developmentally appropriate early learning experiences for your little ones. Now is also a great time to incorporate any changes or key learnings you took away from certain lesson plans the previous year to help make the material even more effective. Finally, since the beginning of the year tends to be especially hectic, you can get ahead by creating your lesson plans for the first couple of weeks.

Plan your first day of school.

As an early childhood teacher, you know how important it is to be flexible and adapt to what’s happening in your classroom at a moment’s notice. That said, go ahead and plan out your first day, taking into account the breadth of emotions your kids (and their parents) will likely experience between drop-off and pick-up. Think about what transitions you want to implement with your students and what you can do to make them feel welcomed and supported right away.

Play by the rules.

Create your list of classroom rules on large posters (incorporating visuals where you can) and hang them throughout the room. You can then cover all the rules on the first day so your students know exactly what you expect of them.

Don’t forget your development goals.

With everything else happening, don’t lose sight of your own learning. Make the 2023-24 school year one to remember by starting your CDA journey with ChildCare Education Institute . And, while you’re at it, start knocking out college prerequisites with our friends at StraighterLine so you can get one step closer to a degree.

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