Now is the perfect time to begin preparing your classroom for your fall program and the new school year. The key to being well prepared in September is to make sure that you, your staff, and parents all have the same expectations about your program, rules, and policies.
Parents should be informed about your program’s rules and policies, especially the ones directly affecting their children (e.g., no profanity). Classroom, playground, and bathroom expectations, as well as field trip and bus rules, should all be clearly communicated. While rules and policies should be written in your parent handbook, it is also helpful to remind parents of them in your monthly newsletter. Some rules – for instance appropriate behavior for school-age children while getting on the bus – must be communicated to parents immediately. Other rules, such as those for field trips, may be communicated closer to the actual event.
Do not attempt to teach all of the rules to the children at one time. Initially, these rules are for the center’s staff and parents so that everyone knows what is expected of the children. After your fall program begins, you should present the rules and expectations gradually, during circle time. Bus rules should be presented and discussed with the school-age children during the first week of school. Field trip riles, on the other hand, can be presented to children a few weeks before each field trip.
Hold a pre-fall staff meeting early in August to ensure that everyone is on the same wavelength regarding your program’s rules, and parent expectations. It is not necessary for the director to create or present each agenda item. The person responsible for food preparation should create and present rotating menus. Each lead teacher should be responsible for presenting a summary of what it developmentally appropriate in his or her program. Each staff member working as a team can develop curriculum and lesson plans.
The following sample agenda, checklists, and rule lists will assist you in holding your pre-fall staff meeting, establishing a sense of teamwork, and promoting a positive atmosphere in your program. Use these lists as is, or adapt them to meet your program’s unique needs.
Fall Planning Meeting Agenda
1. Introduce new staff, substitutes, and volunteers.
2. Review licensing regulations pertaining to each program.
3. Discuss enrollment projections.
4. Hand out classroom rosters with children’s names. Indicate children who are moving up from other classrooms and instruct teachers to meet with one another to pass along information about the children and any assessment tools that were used the previous year.
5. Request that staff prepares a list of supplies and equipment needed for each classroom so that items can be ordered in time for fall.
6. Distribute rotating meal menus.
7. Hand out a summary of things to be done during the first week of the program.
8. Announce any special field trips and events for the fall program.
9. Recruit committees for special events and programs (e.g., Parent’s Night).
10. Review the dress code policy.
11. Review playground supervision expectations.
12. Summarize the infant, preschool, and school-age developmentally appropriate practices, including discipline methods, curriculum, and lesson plans.
13. Review the program expectations for each new class of children.
Teacher To-Do List
Complete the following items before the first week of school.
- Create emergency telephone number list.
- Create emergency cards and consent for treatment forms and have them filed and ready to be taken by the head teacher any time he or she leaves the center with a group of children.
- Create a birthday list of children and staff.
- Create a substitute teach packet.
- Create children’s nametags for field trips.
- Create bus schedules for transporting children to and from public/private schools.