The majority of my time in the classroom has been with year-round programs, so back to school season has always been more of a mindset than an actual period of time. In my experience, shifting from summer to “back to school” involves a lot of emphasis on routines (see Monday’s post!), classroom environment, and welcoming new families. Here are some of the things that I do to transition my mindset and refocus for the school year:
- Refresh my classroom decor – Making small changes to the physical environment can send a major signal to our brains that things are different. These changes often include re-arranging furniture and swapping in new materials, but I also like to add fun accents in new styles. This is as powerful for myself as it is for the children.
- Set clear expectations – I’ll talk more about this on Friday, but I have some wonderful resources in my TPT store that have been helpful throughout the years for setting clear expectations on schedules, how to use materials in different centers, family communication, and my own planning needs.
- Focus on consistency – Much of the first couple of weeks with a new group of children (no matter when in the year this happens) is about being consistent. Consistent with routines AND rules, so that everyone gets used to them before introducing more responsibilities and educational challenges.
- Buy new supplies – the BEST part of back to school season is getting new supplies, so I definitely purchase a few things to support my change in mindset. If you’re interested in what’s on my back to school shopping list, check out this post.
- Reflect on past years – looking back helps me make the best choices for the coming year. Thinking about the things that have worked well, things that I might want to change, and experiences that especially engaged students gives me things to look forward to. I use these reflections to plan for the year and come up with new ideas.
What helps you get in the back to school mindset?