It’s important to know how to prepare for the school year. Don’t wait until the last minute! There are always things that unexpectedly pop up that you didn’t even think about. Make the most of your summer break and cut the anxiety by starting early. Here’s how to prepare for back to school.
Start at the End
Before the stretch of summer begins, jot down notes while you still remember. Write down things you loved about the year and what didn’t work out so well. You can even get ideas from your departing class. Ask what classroom rules they liked and what should be classroom policies and procedure in the future. Being the end of the year, they will most likely be honest and feel valued giving their feedback. Take a peek at other rooms’ end-of-the-year open houses and see if there are any ideas you like. Gather your thoughts and create a checklist.
School Supply Stock-Up
Take inventory of what you have left from the previous year. There are the usual items like pencils, glue, and crayons, but also take a look at craft supply and equipment. Maybe the current paintbrushes are a little worn or a few scissors look like they would have a hard time cutting butter. If you are heading to a new school, make sure to contact them to see what will be provided. A first-aid kit review is also a good idea, you want to make sure you toss any expired medicine or antibacterial products. Also, old bandages lose their stickiness over the years.
Bulletin Board Bonanza
One of the most eye-catching spots in the classroom are the bulletin boards, the place to display photos, assignments, or artwork. Dress it up for a fall theme with leaves and apples, and stash graphics for the upcoming seasons. Make a space for photos of the class or for a fall craft. Prep with butcher paper and borders, and stock on a few different paper rolls so you can change colors and season borders so you can switch out the images throughout the year.
Back to School Note for Parents
This can be an introduction to yourself and can help get the parents to warm up to you. You don’t want to cobble this together late in the game and have typos or misinformation. Include contact info and a brief bio. Have important dates that are already set, like the first day of school and the back-to-school night.
Update the Library
Refresh your books. Glance through to see if there are books that have scribbles or worn/torn pages. Donate if they are going untouched or get rid of the extremely worn ones. Take note of the series or books that are always popular and obtain more in the series. It may also be worth reading a few titles you are unfamiliar with so you can continue making recommendations for book reports. Be sure to also go through your curriculum and bring in some new learning materials.
Refresh Forms and Materials
Go over the year’s forms and handouts and see what you can do ahead of time, like field trip permission slips, letter templates, and attendance forms. Update as desired with any new information or graphics, and start your prints. Replace dog-eared hall passes. Look over your rainy day games and activities to see if you have all the pieces, or create some new games.
Survey the Classroom
If you have been thinking about rearranging the room, now is the time. See if there are ways you can save space with bins and storage, or toss items that are hanging by a thread. Fix any technology and repair or replace broken equipment.
Most of all, relax! Don’t forget to spend some time recharging. You work hard all year, and as you can see, the work doesn’t completely stop in the summer. Make sure to get a vacation or "staycation" in to do the activities that you love. Whether that is reading, golf, the beach, yoga, crafting, cooking, or sipping margaritas at the pool. Your students will get the best version of you, and you deserve it!