On the first day I like to keep things simple and ease the kids back into the classroom environment to shake away the cobwebs from the summer holidays. We focus on what I expect from my class and what the children can expect from me, and there’s plenty of open discussion to help the children get comfortable and break the ice a little. We go over what the children think would make a good learning environment, and they write statements down on what behaviour is expected at school. Different teachers tend to have different approaches but the goal is always to get the class settled in and ready to learn together over the coming months.
At our school children in years 5 and 6 go on a residence trip during the first week back to spend time with the class teacher and their peers. It’s a really good way to bond with each other before settling back into the school routine and there’s lots of team building games that make it really fun. I find it really helpful to explore the children’s personalities a bit more and I try to include a variety of games to help bring out different sides to their characters.
Some schools will hold a parent induction evening to invite parents/carers to meet with the class teacher and ask any questions they might have. This is a really useful session where parents can address their concerns and I can find out extra pieces of information that might help the children in my classroom. I try to keep my meetings as informal and honest as possible and let parents take the lead in what they wish to talk about. For the most part, the parents I meet with tend to have similar concerns about their child settling in and getting the best out of their learning environment, which is why I take the time to make sure all the children in my class are happy, comfortable and aware of how to act in a classroom on their first day.
Ms Webb studied primary education at The University of the West of England, and now teaches in a primary school in the South West of England. She teaches year 5 but regularly spends time with years 3 and 4 too. Her name has been changed in the interest of privacy.
For further reading, check out our answers to FAQs on the first day of primary school