Starting The School Year Strong

Getting to Know Your Group …and the Unique Individuals they are!!

The beginning of the school year is such a busy time!  We are constantly looking at our things to do list, preparing bulletin boards, meeting children and parents and following the wishes of our management.

Now, as we settle in it is time to sit back and take a look at the group we call our “class”.  Ask yourself the following questions:

As a group…

What’s the make-up of the group? (boy/girl ratio, ages, active or quiet)

What are their favorite activities during the day?

What is the most difficult time of day for you as a teacher? (arrival / circle / centers / transitions)

What sticks out in your mind about the group? (1 particular child, a parent, a time you dread)

As individuals …

Who is the child you don’t know much about?Where does he play?

Who influences the group the most? Why? What kind of influence is it?

Who do you match up well with?  Why?

All this information is extremely helpful in planning for learning.  Take these answers and do the following:

1. Look at your room environment – re-arrange where it is crowded and make bigger the centers that are most populated.

2. Analyze your schedule – make changes if necessary.  Make sure there is a good balance of teacher-directed activities and child-oriented activities.  Remember, the younger the child – the more exploration needed.

3. Observe your routines during the day – arrival, departures, bathroom or toileting, going to gym or outside.  Is it fun? Is it calm? Is it a time for connecting?

4. Are you planning learning activities that match up with their abilities AND interests?

All of these exercises help you as teachers to do INTENTIONAL PLANNING!  They allow you to get to know your students, emotionally connect with them, and find the best ways to reach them and develop their strengths.

It truly is what it is all about!

-Nancy Nathanson

Regional Education Director