Posted by: Cathi Brese Doebler | August 27, 2009

Thoughts from a Kindergarten teacher on starting the school year

I am not a Kindergarten teacher, but I know some really great ones.  For those of you with little ones starting Kindergarten this year, here are some suggestions from my sister Sandra, who was a Kindergarten teacher for 13 years:

  • If your child can’t tie shoes yet, don’t stress–go velcro! They can learn to tie at their own pace & not get grief in the classroom every time the laces are hanging.
  •  Have your child wear sneakers. Kindergarten kids move around a lot & shoes that don’t fit well or are hard to walk in are not doing the kid any good, even if they match that adorable outfit.
  •  If that adorable outfit is a dress put shorts underneath…believe me, I have seen some pretty embarrassed Kindergarten girls in dresses!
  •  Always, always, always check your kids show-n-tell; you can only imagine the items that I have seen!
  •  Put your child’s name on everything. Some parents even go to the trouble to label each crayon in the box! This may seem extreme but it really isn’t…have you ever seen the floor of a kindergarten class just after art?
  •  Talk about public bathrooms, toilet paper use & washing of hands. Remember, most of the kids have been with an adult most of the time when it comes to public bathrooms and now they are on their own.
  •  Practice zipping & buttoning. If they are having trouble with an outfit then don’t send them in it.
  •  SHOW them the supplies etc. that you put in their bag the first day so that they know what it is all about & what they are for.
  •  You might want to consider putting a bus tag on your child and/or a homeroom or classroom teacher tag. Not that it happens often, but there are times when a child is found wandering around a school lost or (if they transfer) at the wrong school. I don’t mean to scare you, but if you are worried, follow the bus the first day. It is OK!
  •  If your school doesn’t use/provide them, get a folder with pockets and label one side return to school & the other side keep home.
  •  Have your child practice using/maneuvering a lunchbox and containers for a week before school starts so that your child knows how to use them & doesn’t panic (or starve!) You can also get milk cartons at the store to practice opening as well.
  •  You can also practice using the supply box and the things that are in there (scissors etc.) They could also practice making them fit into the box so that their desk doesn’t become a dumping zone.
  •  Take them to the school and walk around at their pace. Most schools are open & welcome 1st timers. Have them “take” you to the gym, the library, the nurse etc. so that they are comfortable with walking the hallways.
  •  Consider hand sanitizer or wet wipes for in their bag & encourage them to use them after lunch.
  •  Get your teacher’s email & send in yours. It makes for quick communication.
  •  If they ask for an art smock, get one with long sleeves. Also, one with buttons or something down the front is better then pulling it off over the head each time.
  •  Before you send in anything with peanuts or peanutbutter, check to make sure it is ok. There are tons of peanut allergies out there now.
  •  NEVER put pop/soda in a thermos. They explode 99% of the time!
  •  Ask your child to bring home anything they don’t eat (not drink-yuck) in their lunchbox so that you can get a gage on how much to pack. You wouldn’t believe how many kids just dump the whole box when the whistle blows.
  •  Visit a real eye doctor & dentist some time during the year. It is time to do so if you haven’t done so yet.
  •  Take the time each morning to pray with your child before they run out the door. Help them to know that God is with them…always…and that you are thinking and praying for them throughout the day!


  1. What a great list! I need to think about Kindergarten parents who could use it!

    • It might also be helpful for preschool parents at the end of the school year…something the preschool team could share…

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