Soft Start Mornings in Kindergarten

It’s the start of a new day and students are entering your classroom to begin their day. Traditional morning work is ready at their tables for what you hope will be a smooth start to the school day. Three minutes in and several students have already “finished” their work and some need assistance completing a worksheet that you thought would be an independent assignment. Traditional morning work can oftentimes lead to more work for you and your students. We have a suggestion for a smoother start…Soft Start Mornings!

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Why a Soft Start?

There are several benefits for you and your students when having a soft start to the day.

  • Students still follow a morning routine (unpacking, getting settled)
  • Hands-on opportunities for students to practice skills
  • Allows students to increase independence
  • Allows for student collaboration
  • Students get a chance to greet each other and chat while working (expectations/procedures in place)
  • You get to settle in for the day (attendance, check folders, drink coffee)
  • Removes the “morning rush” feeling to start the day
  • You can be more present with your students before beginning the day

Morning Bins as a Soft Start

Morning bins are a great way to implement soft-start mornings. These are tubs or baskets that are pre-filled with hands-on activities and materials. Morning bins engage students in meaningful practice of skills and eliminate the need for a typical morning sheet. They offer fun, rotating options for students and support their learning in developmentally appropriate ways.

Check out the Morning Bins bundle here on Simply Kinder or here inside Simply Kinder + Printable Membership with over 220+ different activities for the year!

No Morning Bins; No Problem:

No morning bins? Soft start mornings are still an option for you! Here are some options if you are wanting to begin with a soft start:

  • Drawing/Art/Coloring
  • Play-Doh
  • Stem Bins
  • Puzzles
  • Math or Literacy Games

Implementing a Soft Start:

Your students will still follow a structured routine when entering the classroom. Going over procedures with students is key to classroom management and is important to implementing a soft start.

Greet your students and take the time to engage with students so they feel connected to start the day.

Set expectations with morning bins/activities when beginning and practice, practice, practice. You will need to model getting the bins, using the bins, and cleaning up.

Tip: Introduce 1-2 bins/activities at a time when first implementing a soft start so students can successfully get the hang of procedures.

A visible rotation schedule works well for students so they know which bin or activity they will use each morning. Have materials organized and easily accessible for students. It won’t take long for soft start mornings to become a success in your classroom.

Prepping for a Soft Start:

Hang a visible schedule so students know what to expect throughout the day.

Set up an affirmation mirror that students can access during their morning routine.

Prepare morning bins/activities that students will use each morning. Consider storing bins in a rolling cart or shelf with removable buckets.

Materials for morning bins are often things you already have in your classroom:

  • Counters or other math manipulatives
  • Mini Clothespins
  • Pom Poms
  • Play-Doh
  • Magnetic letters/numbers
  • Dot Markers

If using a Morning Bin Resource like our bundle HERE, you will need to print and laminate the activities you choose for bins.

Consider how students will transition between morning activities.

Tips: A classroom doorbell, tapping wand, or soft music are great options for transitions.

Soft start mornings are the way to go when setting a positive tone for your school day!

Let Simply Kinder help you implement soft start mornings by grabbing our Yearlong Monthly Morning Bin Bundle HERE. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “A MUST HAVE FOR ANY YOUNG LEARNERS CLASSROOM. These activities have been great to put out in the morning and during independent group time. I have also used them during small groups and the students are so engaged! TONS OF FUN”

We’d love to hear how you implement a soft start in your classroom. Comment and share your ideas!

At Simply Kinder we work together to bring you ready-to-use resources to partner with great teaching for any curriculum, a Facebook community where teachers talk all things Kindergarten, and low-prep learning ideas that your students will love. Be sure to stay up to date with all things kindergarten on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and through email. Simply Kinder: where teaching Kinder is definitely better together!

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