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First Day of School | 7 Easy Things to Do Now

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Photo of Alison Smith
Updated | 5 min read

Congratulations! You made it to the end of the school year (or almost). And what a year it’s been! It’s likely that you are experiencing a mixed bag of feelings. Perhaps you’re feeling ecstatic, exhausted, jubilant, sad, relieved, excited, satisfied, dissatisfied, proud or disappointed. It’s totally normal to have any or all of these feelings. I promise you will feel better after a break.

But before you check out for the holidays, there are a few quick and easy things that you can do to get ready for next year. Believe me, you’ll thank yourself on the first day of school.

Here’s a round-up of our 7 tips for getting ready now for the first day of school:

  1. Choose a children’s book.
  2. Write a ‘Meet the Teacher’.
  3. Plan a joke or two.
  4. Choose an active game.
  5. Choose an ‘All About Me’ activity.
  6. Plan a desk activity for the children as they enter.
  7. Plan a take-home activity.

Then you can do this…

teacher-relaxing-in-hammock / ESB Professional

Prioritise for the First Day of School

Before we get into it, let’s take a moment to consider what’s really important on the first day of school. Figuring out what’s urgent and important helps us to prioritise.

It’s tempting to believe that labelling every non-living thing in your classroom and making things look pretty is a top priority. But consider that decorating your classroom can wait and that other things are more important.

The most important thing to plan for the first day of school is ways to connect with your students, being to create a classroom community and to build relationships.

(1) Choose a Children’s Book

Having a good children’s book up your sleeve for the first day of school is essential. Select a book now, and leave it on your desk.

Reading a good book to your class on the first day of school is a bit like sharing a pot of tea – it brings everyone together.

Looking for inspiration? Why not read Fergus and Delilah written by Erin Knutt and Illustrated by Misa Alexander. This picture book delivers an important message for children about friendship and inclusion. For more information on this wonderful book read our blog Autism | Inclusion in the Classroom.

For more book choice ideas and a list of some of the best ‘starting school’ books around, read our blog 10 Picture Books and Activities About Starting School

(2) Write a Meet the Teacher Letter

Get organised now and prepare a simple Meet the Teacher Letter to introduce yourself on the first day of school. If you’ve left it too late to hand these out to your new students, why not post these to their home addresses. You can imagine the look of joy on their faces as they find a personalised letter to them from you!

First Day of School Things to Do Now - Meet the Teacher

Letter writing is a great way to build a connection with your students and to show that you care. So, download our time-saving Meet The Teacher Letter – Editable Word Version and prep it before you clock off for the holidays. Make the first day of school easier by following these simple steps:

  1. Customise the content of your letter and add a photo.
  2. Print off multiple copies (1 for every student).
  3. Seal the letters in individual envelopes for each student.
  4. Place the letters on student desks on the first day of school.

(3) Plan a Joke or Two!

Give yourself a head start for the first day of school now,  by downloading our Jokes for Kids PowerPointThe jokes included in this teaching presentation are kid-friendly, relatable and the perfect teaching tool to ease any nerves.


Sharing a joke with your class on the first day helps to build relationships and to make a connection with your students. What’s more, showing your funny side is hugely reassuring for your students.

(4) Choose an Active Game

Next, be sure to plan an active game for the first day of school. After a long active holiday, it’s going to be a challenge for students to sit down for long periods of time. So head to our Brain Break Active Game Resource Pack.

an active game, perfect for the first day of school.

(5) Choose an ‘All About Me Activity’

Most teachers plan an All About Me Activity for the first day of school. So, head to our All About Collection where you’ll find a variety of teaching resources to choose from for all year levels.  I love our All About Me Numbers Concertina for Early Years because as well as being fun, it will give you insight into your students’ level of ability.

First Day of School - All About Me

This template comes in all school fonts and different boy/girl designs to best fit the little people in your class.

Or, why not create All About Me Bunting which will double up as an awesome classroom display!

First Day of School Things to Do Now - Student Bunting

You can make your first homework assignment fun and easy by asking your students to bring in a small photograph of themselves from home.

For more awesome All About Me resources check out our blog – 8 ‘All About Me’ Classroom Displays.

(6) Plan a Fun Desk Activity

If you do nothing else, select and prepare a simple desk activity that will engage your students on the first day of school. An independent desk activity that requires minimal teacher instruction, will give you a chance to catch your breath and give your students clear directions.

Why not choose from our huge Word Search Collection. Alternatively, create your own word search using our Create Your Own Wordsearch Widget.

(7) Take-Home Activity

Students and parents alike love a take-home activity on the first day of school. Take the time to download a homework activity now, so that you don’t have to think about it during the holidays. Be smart and choose an activity that is easy for your students to complete independently and without much teacher instruction.

With early years in mind, we have created this brand new Starting School Chatterbox.

First Day of School Things to Do Now - Chatterbox

This fun template is ideal to use during the first week of school and encourages students to:

  • learn how to spell their teacher’s name
  • get their school uniform ready the night before school
  • pack their bag the night before school
  • learn the names of two people in their new class
  • read to an adult at home
  • introduce themselves to a classmate
  • draw a map of their classroom
  • show an adult how to hold their pencil.

As you can see, if you manage to do one or two of these quick and easy ideas before you check out for the holiday, you’ll thank yourself on the first day of school. And now, it’s well and truly time for you to kick back, do nothing and enjoy the holidays. You deserve every minute of your holidays. Rest up and recharge.

For a comprehensive guide to making your first day of school seamless, read Holly’s brilliant blog  The First Day of School: A Fail-Safe Guide for Teachers.

Share your school holiday happy selfies on Instagram #teachstarter

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  • Janine Dannenberg

    This was absolutely a great help. Great Ideas and I have a plan for the first day back next year.

    • Janeen

      Hi Janine It's our pleasure to provide you with resources like this! So glad the blog is useful for you. Cheers Janeen

  • Susan Daley

    Thanks for the suggestions, they are great. It would be good to see some linked resources suitable for middle and upper years as well. Thank you.?

    • Alison Smith

      Hi Susan, thanks for getting in touch! Take a look at our Back to School Activites for Upper Years blog. Here the link... There are some cool ideas to get you started and we will be providing more ideas in the new year. Have a great day, Ali

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