Some people may find it daunting facing a new class of infants in September. Here are some points to help you think about, plan and prepare for the new school year.
Classroom Set Up:
Take a look at your new classroom and make a note of the resources you will have, this may help you in planning initial topics for your classroom. If you are hoping to introduce Aistear, try and plan your areas depending on the space available in the classroom. I always tried to have some display space near my socio-dramatic area where I added posters, flashcards and photos that linked directly with the topic. I also added topic words to my small world, construction and sand area where I had space. You may need to consider the amount of resources, toys and furniture in the room also. Could some resources be stored elsewhere and changed depending on the topic.
Arranging desks is always a personal preference, I have had lots of options rows, L shape, groups and lines. I vary them as the year goes on. There are no recommendations for social distancing in the younger classes, but you can create pods in the classroom which will allow groups to work together. You could choose from different styles to arrange your classroom to be mindful of a pod system. See what suits your classroom size and layout best. As children do not spend all day at their desk, you may decide to increase the number at each desk from 4 to 5, while not adding an additional table. This will allow more space for areas in your classroom.
If you are new to the school or class always ask for your booklist. This will give you an idea of the schemes in use in the school and may help with your planning. The majority of publishers have a variety of online resources to support the text books, so make sure to sign up for the resources and request sample access as some publishers request a copy of the school’s booklist before granting full access. This may also help you if you wanted to get a head start on your planning.
I saw a lovely meme from The Teacher Next Door recently which said that the two most important things to focus on in the first few weeks were
- focus on teaching classroom procedures
- focus on relationships and connections
I totally agree with this and by focusing on classroom procedures and relationships in the initial weeks your classroom management strategy, whichever you choose, will follow on from this. By focusing on rules and procedures the children will become more aware of the expected behaviours.
I have used a variety of classroom management strategies such as sunshine and clouds, traffic lights and sticker charts with individual targets, again it is personal preference and depends on the teacher themselves. Some teachers also use Class Dojo to build up points, but in the early days on infant classes I think a visual approach which can be seen and referred to all day may be more beneficial.
I have older blog posts about preparing your classroom for the first day which I will share later in August, however for now remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and to enjoy your holidays while they last. Although I have been teaching myself for over 10 years I still need to remind myself to take time out over the holidays. I always restrict the time I spend on school work to two hours per week as I could easily start to become overwhelmed.
So take the time to enjoy the sunny weather, ( I hope it returns now)!!
Enjoy your holidays and the well earned break.
Lots more blog posts to follow with suggestions and if you have any questions please send me a PM.