I know that New Year’s Eve has come and gone, but I love to welcome the children back to school after the holidays with a small New Year celebration. It’s hard to come back to school after a break, especially since the last week of school before we left was all about celebrating the holidays. Coming back to the regular routine can be a little boring. This is my way of helping make that transition a little more fun.
Here are some of the things that I’ve come up with over the years to put out for the first week to ensure that we have something new to explore while celebrating the New year:
It’s not a celebration without decorations! The New Year’s decoration set is my favorite because it features so many glitter graphics, which are really the best of both worlds – you get the look of glitter without the mess! All of my decoration sets include a printable bunting, name plates, cupcake picks (which can also be used as stickers), treat bag toppers, and a door decoration for the classroom door.
Vocabulary cards are my favorite way to introduce a new topic. We talk about each word at circle time, and then I put them in the writing center so that the children can explore them on their own. Children love to write the words that they are learning, so it is helpful to have these when we are starting a new topic because I don’t have to spell the words for them over and over – they can do it independently. My vocabulary sets also come with cards that have letter spaces instead of the word so that children can create their own set of cards to practice the letter formation and spelling.
Alphabet books are one of my favorite things because they introduce new vocabulary that may not be as commonly used as those included in the vocabulary sets. They also help children begin to isolate beginning sounds and notice the differences between letter sounds. The New Year Alphabet book is one of my favorites because it was a huge accomplishment to be able to come up with a New Year – related word for every single letter of the alphabet!
I also spend a lot of time reflecting with the children on how they spent New Year’s Eve. This is one of those holidays that people tend to celebrate very differently, so it’s exciting for them to hear about each others’ celebrations and find similarities and differences. It also gives me a chance to get to know the families a little better.
How do you address the New Year at school?