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Before school starts, educators go in to their classrooms to set up the environment.  Making a list of the centres you want in your classroom is a good place to start.  Then, you can look at the classroom and see where each centre you want will fit, and if it will work in your room.  Think about where you will need space for large group instruction times, and where in your room will suit small group activities.  Also, think about which centres will require a quiet area, such as a reading/book centre, and try to avoid putting those centres next to a centre that can become busy/noisy, such as a dramatic play centre.  The furniture that you will need for your centres will also need to be taken into account when setting up your classroom. 

An important aspect to chosing the learning centres you want at the beginning of a school year is to consider what they children will want to do.  Will the children want to begin with learning words from your word wall?  Or will they be more engaged in centres where they can be hands on?  Some suggestions for centres at the beginning of a school year are an open-ended art centre, sensory tables, blocks, dramatic play, etc…

Once the first day of school arrives, explain the centres briefly to the students.  Take them on a tour of the classroom so they can see what is available for them to play with.  When the children are engaged at the centres, circulate so that you can spend a few minutes with each child and get to know them a little bit and discover their individual interests.  This can also give you some insight into adjusts you may want to make to centres.  You can also model for children while you spend time at each centre.


In our school, we do our Daily Physical Activity (DPA) as an entire school.  In the fall, our principal initiated our Morning Walk Program.

Our morning bell used to ring at 9:10am.  Now, it rings at 8:55am.  This signals the entire school that our morning walk has begun.  We use pylons to set out a track and all of our students walk this track until 9:15am.  The yard duty supervisors and our principal assist with this walk, and for the rest of the school staff, the program is voluntary. 

This 20 minute walk not only gives the students, and the staff a chance to stay active everyday, but it also gives all of us a time every morning to talk to each other as we walk.  It is a wonderful opportunity to get to know our students better, including children who are not in our class.  We also have parents who come and walk with us, which builds on the school-family connections.


     Starting school is an important step in your child’s life, as well as yours.  For both of you, it can be exciting, and scary.  Remember that this is a big event, and help support your child in their new adventure.  This can be true for older children as well.  They have had the summer off, and some children might be anxious about going back to school in the Fall.

     Here are a few tips that will help you get your child ready for that first day of school.

  1. Take a tour of the school. Before the first day of school, visit the school with your child so that the building and playground become familiar. If you have access to inside of the school, take your child to the classroom he/she will be in for a quick tour.  Even if you had a tour of the school in the Spring, it is a good idea to do it again just before school starts to remind your child of where everything is.  This can also give your child a feeling of security and confidence for that first day of school if he/she is re-familiarized with the school.
  2. Get into a routine. About a week or so before the start of school, begin putting your child to bed at a normal time for a school night. For a week before school starts, be sure your child then gets up, dressed, and fed like a regular school morning. This is a good idea for children who are just beginning school, as well as older children who might need to get back into a routine before that first day of school in the Fall.
  3. Practise sharing. Give your child all kinds of opportunities to be with other kids, to learn to share, wait, and take turns. That’s what school is all about.
  4. Teach the importance of listening. School means being able to listen. Kids need to understand and practise listening, things like: look at who is talking, don’t interrupt, and think about what is being said. Modelling these skills are a great way to show your child what listening means.
  5. Learn at home. Include learning in your child’s everyday life. For example, a child can practise by reading package labels or weighing produce while shopping. Read to your child. Play word or counting games.
  6. Develop your child’s motor skills. Children need daily physical activity. Give your child every opportunity to exercise and develop larger muscles by running, climbing, playing with a ball, etc. Smaller hand muscles can be strengthened with playdough, scissors, painting, and crayons.
  7. Encourage communication. Oral communication is very important.  Encourage your child to communicate with the other students, as well as the staff at the school. Give your child the confidence to ask questions in all situations. Let your child know that it’s OK to tell the teacher if something is hard to understand, or if they are uncomfortable in any situation.