What To Plan on The First Day of Kindergarten!

May 24, 2020 | August, Back To School, Fall, Management, September, Teacher Wisdom | 6 comments

Ahhh… the first day of kindergarten!  It’s such an exciting day!  An exhausting day!  But what do you plan for that day?  So many things you are excited to do with your students, but you have to remember it’s the first day and keep it all in perspective!

This article works well with these Simply Kinder resources:

Remember, your new kindergarten  students:

– may have never been in a school setting before

– may have never been away from their parents before

– may not know how to use a pencil, scissors, and glue (a good portion won’t)

– may have never been asked to sit in a seat and do an activity before

For me, I actually plan my first day very loosely and I focus most of my day on learning to walk in a line, go to recess and lunch, and how to go home.  If those 3 things don’t happen smoothly that day, you will have a issues.  So about 5 years ago, I ditched my formal lesson plans on the first day and decided to just focus on learning the procedures to get through the day.

What to realistically plan on the first day of kindergarten!  Great article for teachers to plan the first day of school.

The first day of kindergarten looks a little like this:

8:00 – 8:30  Activity at tables while I welcome students, show them their seats, make a new name tag or two for new students, and help parents separate.

8:30 – 9:00  Carpet or circle time.  Introduction of myself and our classroom.  Talk about how to sit on carpet and how to raise hand if you have a question or need help.

9:00-9:15 Practice going in a line.  We walk around the room in a line.  We practice going from our seats to our line.  Oh, we also talk about the bathroom here too.    I do this now because the moment you say bathroom, they will all have to!

9:15-9:45 Talk about playground rules.  We go outside and I literally go down the slide.  I let them play for a few minutes and then we practice lining up 3-4 times so that way when the REAL recess happens they know what to do.

9:45 – 10:00  We will go inside and do a quick story and then talk about lunch.  I will show an actual tray and a milk carton and go over what is going to happen at lunch.  We will go practice  or just tour the lunchroom.

10:00 – 10:30  We will do an exploring manipulatives activity.  This gives me time to make sure everyone has their lunches and lunch cards ready.  Kids really want to play and explore what looks like toys to them in the class so I feel like it’s important to have some of this time carved out.

10:30 – 11:15 Lunch. Even though we have practiced, it will still take most of your lunch to get them all settled.

11:15 – 11:30  We will do some sort of unwinding activity.  A coloring page at their seats is great during this time.

11:30 – 12:00  Math manipulative rotations at their seats.  Talk about math manipulatives and let the kids explore the different options you have.  Rotate the manipulatives not the students.

12:00 – 12:15  Pack up.  We do this in the middle of the day because I don’t like a crazy rush out the door on the first day!  I explain to the kids we are not going home but this is how you pack up and what you do.  (I actually even start during those math rotations, showing the kids a couple at a time what to do.)

12:15 – 12:45  Talk about dismissal.  Review and practice going to the actual places!

12:45 – 1:15  Write in our journals.  I like to get a good writing sample on the first day with no instruction.  These are fun to keep so you can see the growth!  They are also fun for their end of year memory books!

1:15 – 2:00  Specials (my prep).   During this time you will want to really look at dismissal again and make sure you are ready!  This time, of course, is just thrown in so you will just adjust it to wherever your specials time is if you have it.

2:00-2:30  Thoughts and feelings about school.  Reminders about dismissal and a story.

There you have it, my day in nutshell.  No formal lessons and no big projects or activities.

On day 2 we start our School Rules Interactive Book!  

This is a great book that page by page goes over small things like following directions, lining up, not picking your nose, going down the slide, and TONS more!  Each page has an interactive activity to reinforce the concept!  Kids really love it!

Be sure to check out 7 more tips for a smooth day 1st day of Kindergarten!

7 Tips for a Smooth First Day of Kindergarten!

What do you teach on the first day of kindergarten?


  1. uzma

    Ms excellent and awesome lesson plan

  2. Naary Corral

    I love it!!

  3. Katie

    Great list! Though, I think every other item after the first two should be “answer questions about when it’s time to go home”, that or “answer questions about when we are going to play with toys”
    The first day really is just a day of learning procedures, and I really appreciate your thoroughness of the plan!

  4. Karen Stern

    Excellent Blog!! Great tips!

  5. Nancy

    I am so glad I read this post. I am returning to kindergarten after many years in 1st & then 2nd, this coming year is year 30 in the same building and my last year teaching! I really liked how the 1st day is planned out.
    I will be visiting your site often!

  6. Jennifer Smith

    I know that this post is over a year old, but I just wanted to say how happy I am to have found it. I will be a first year kindergarten teacher in approximately one and a half months, and I am very nervous about the first few weeks of school! I will 100% be using this advice on the first day. Thank you again!


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