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Nqt In Reception - Help With First Week!


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This site seems like a magical find - although I can't pretend it doesn't give me the jitters to discover that some NQTs have been preparing all summer...! Yikes :o . I've been on holiday. I restricted my planning/preparing time to the final two weeks or I KNEW I'd spend the whole summer in my classroom - was I crazy to do this??!

 

What I'm wondering is if anyone can help to give me and other NQTs (who I know are all panicking about the same thing!) an idea of what on earth to do with 30 children when they arrive in September. I will have 17 on the first day (from school nursery), then another 3 each day until I get the full 30 by the second week. Unusually, these will include those who have just turned four as well as those who are nearly five.

 

The classroom will be set up similar to nursery for the first couple of weeks. How exactly do I go about introducing routines like sitting on carpet, class rules, lining up, going to lunch, register, behaviour management systems etc.? Is there any kind of tried and tested schedule for the first week with a new class, including circle/carpet time activities? Our topic is Myself and My Family.

 

Also, while I'm here, does anybody know where I can find a wire book rack that either attaches to the wall or free stands? I don't want them rummaging through a box on the floor! I have tried Ebay but no luck....

 

If anyone can help - thank you soooooooo much!

 

Poko

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Hi Poko,

Please don't panic!!!!! I was an NQT in Foundation and I felt exactly the same as you do. I did spend most of the Summer getting sorted and doing planning etc but that just made me feel more organised and relaxed about September and wasn't really necessary.

 

I worried about my first day - what would I say and do. How do I teach the children the routines etc. I promise you it all falls into place.

 

On the first day, just make sure that your classroom is clearly labelled so that the children know exactly where to put their coats, p.e bag, drinks, lunch boxes, dinner money, reading books and drinks etc.

 

If this is not clear and obvious to them then they may worry, but if they can see exactly what to do when they come in they will be reassured. Try not to plan too much for the first day. Welcome the children into your classroom and when they are all in I would direct them towards the carpet area. I read the children a story which I knew they would all enjoy. "Eat your peas" This is a very funny book and it made all of the children forget any worries and relax. We then played a quick circle game where the children all said what they liked and didn't like to eat.

I then explained about the routine of the day and what would happen when.

 

If any of the children are new to the building make sure you show them where they will go to the toilet, eat their lunch and play outside. These are the little things that always seem to worry them.

I explain the rules to the children by saying things like "You know if I'm going through the hall, do you think I should run?" and they all say "No, silly, you should walk because running is dangerous etc I also ask the children how they think they should behave in certain areas and at certain times of the day. This makes it a fun way to introduce the rules.

 

If you are worried or want to ask me any specific questions I really don't mind. It's hard to anticipate the unknown of your very first day but I found if you go with the flow you'll be fine.

 

Boogie :D

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hi, i was in the exact same postion last year. if its any comfort my year went so quick i didnt have time to panic about all the things i was thinking about during the holiday.

 

i can roughly remember my first week. i did plently of child intiated activities to allow the children to become familar with the classroom.

 

then i introduced short whole class activites to get to know each others names etc and learning to sit on the carpet. (believe it or not my last class did this well!) and other circle time games.

 

all they really want to do the first week is play so i set up lots of different activies for them to do based around the theme myself.

 

my planning for the first week was very vague and oplayed each day as it came.

 

the one thing i did hate was that my head teacher wanted a whole school assembly, ahhhhhhhhh it was impossible to get them to sit quietly!

 

well good luck and try and relax before september!

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Welcome to the forum Susiehunt/Poko :D

I would echo what the others have said - lots of free choice activities and short carpet sessions/circle times to talk through and set up routines, get to know each other etc. Songs, stories and quizzes (who can show me where the glue sticks go? etc)

We get the children to make their own peg cards for their coat hook in the first week - they draw a picture and write their name. We laminate the cards and they are a permanent record of what the children could do when they first came into school.

Good luck, I'm sure you will be fine :D

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Hi Poko

I have been teaching for more than 30 years but I still remember the feelings you are experiencing right now.

There has been lots of good advice given already. Is there any planning from the previous teacher you can use, this will give you a good starting point. Are you on your own or is there a classroom assistant, have you met him/her yet, you can always ask him/her if there was anything which worked well last year.

Quite nice for the children to have something to take home on their first day, a simple drawing of them in their school uniform.

Good luck.

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Hi Poko

If its any help to you, I always let the children collage/paint 2 pictures - one to go home and one for the a classroom display. That way they have something to take home and they can start to take ownership of the classroom.

Thank you Bookgie for introducing me to Kes Gray books - just what I need and I'm sure my class will love them.

Ruthanne :)

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Hey! It's not that long since I was an NQT in Reception and all I can remember about my 1st week (it's all pretty much a blur) is spending as much time as possible playing with the kids, getting to know them, what they like, what they don't like etc. Also being clear with any instructions and rules you may have, so that they are straight right from the start, although I did make up the rules with the kids and then added on anything extra I wanted there that they hadn't thought of.

Most of all- enjoy it!!

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Hi all,

 

I'm also an NQT in reception this September, so am loving this thread - thanks all, lots of great ideas. My children have an induction week where they bring anybody they want into school on the first day and they just stay and play for a little while - a bit like a drop in session, then I have half the class am the other half pm and then swap over on day three. Only half of the children will be starting full-time, so I am trying to take on all your suggestions and work them into a one or two session day.

 

Love the idea about them contributing to a class display from day 1 - excellent, will definitely do this!!

 

Good luck Poko and keep in touch, it would be great to have another NQT to chat to.

 

Kellsa :o

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Hi Poko,

 

Its a shame that you haven't had the opportunity to meet with your new children but I assume that most of them will be coming from an early years setting and will therefore be quite used to routines even though they might be slightly different.

 

I always take a photograph of each child either on their visit day or on their first day. I use a digital camera and involve the children in downloading the photos and printing them out. Then we mount them and put their names underneath (giving each child the option to write or have it printed) We then make a huge display and a welcome banner. The children love this and can't wait to see themselves on the display and spot their friends. Also parents are always brought in to see the photos. This would also tie in well with your starting theme of myself.

 

Hope this is helpful and good luck for your first week. :o

 

Jane

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Hi Poko,

 

Its a shame that you haven't had the opportunity to meet with your new children but I assume that most of them will be coming from an early years setting and will therefore be quite used to routines even though they might be slightly different.

 

I always take a photograph of each child either on their visit day or on their first day.  I use a digital  camera and involve the children in downloading the photos and printing them out.  Then we mount them and put their names underneath (giving each child the option to write or have it printed)  We then make a huge display and a welcome banner.  The children love this and can't wait to see themselves on the display and spot their friends.  Also parents are always brought in to see the photos.  This would also tie in well with your starting theme of myself.

 

Hope this is helpful and good luck for your first week. :o

 

Jane

36523[/snapback]

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I'd just like to say....WOW, so many helpful ideas and kind thoughts, thank you everybody!

 

I like the idea of involving the children in making a welcome poster using their photos. I can really see that working. We are having an open afternoon the week before term starts properly, when the children come in for an hour with their parents; I was thinking of involving the parents by asking them to write 'welcome' in their home language (lots of Somali, Albanian, Bengali children in my class) for a big poster. I was also going to get them to paint/collage a self-portrait for a display to go up straight away.

 

I guess there are lots of things you can involve the children in rather than doing yourself before they arrive. What about coat hooks? Maybe on the first day they can just put their coats anywhere (?), then the kids can make their own name labels. Or maybe I get the name labels up and then involve the kids in printing out and putting up photos to go alongside.

 

Any good, fun ideas for how to involve the children in coming up with the class rules and would you do this on the first day (even if all the children aren't there until the following week?). I've seen posters surrounded by the children's hand prints.

 

I have actually met about half my class, the ones who are currently in the school's own nursery. I've also met lots of the parents. It's the school I did my spring teaching practice in so perhaps i have a head start in that respect. It's two form entry and my parallel year teacher is also my mentor and absolutely brilliant. So I was imagining that we'd be planning together at the start of term....oh well, will find out I guess. I was in nursery on my last placement and the one thing I learned is not to overplan! Everything went so much better when I allowed myself to take risks and be spontaneous - that way I could judge activities by the children's mood rather than sticking rigorously to a plan that was doomed to fail because they were all half asleep and cranky. I think it's good advice to take it one day at a time, at least for the first week or so.

 

One thing I really want to do on my first day is introduce my puppets. I've bought a squawking crow and quite a cool-looking boy from Puppets by Post. I'm thinking of using them both as talking points e.g. my crow is very badly behaved so hopefully he will provoke the kids into telling him off and explaining what he's doing wrong (maybe that's a way of introducing class rules? 'I'm going to have to ban him from the classroom unless he learns to behave!'). I'm thinking that the little boy could be new to the class and the kids could think of ways to make him feel welcome (as a way of discussing how to make friends, be nice to the new children, explain routines etc. etc.).

 

I'm a bit scared about how to introduce routines like sitting down on the carpet when they come into the classroom and a million others. From what I've seen the nursery children are not used to this (or lining up, or tidying up!) and several apparently have real difficulties joining carpet sessions. On my 'meet the teacher' day they literally piled into the classroom and turned it upside down - I was expecting them to be all timid! Do you just have the routine already in place and explain as you go along? Do you practice lining up, take children to the toilets in small groups to show them where they are etc?

 

Okay, i'd better stop asking questions right now or they will keep on coming!!! I just want the first day to be over then i think it will start being fun. Good advice about asking the TA what they did last year - will definitely do that.

 

Thanks again everybody, now have to actually get something done - these forums are quite dangerously addictive, I've discovered!

 

Poko

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36527[/snapback]

 

 

Great idea Jane

 

We also take digital photo's on children's first day and use small copies to mark coat hooks and individual trays. (parents love a picture of their child's first day in school so send a copy home)

 

We also start a skills book and ask the children to draw a picture of themselves and write their name............ it's really interesting to look back at the end of the year to see progress.

 

We will also be painting self portraits which will go on a display entitled our class.

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Poko, in response to your queries this is what I do ...

I use a wind chime to gain the children's attention and then make the signal of one finger on lips and other hand in air. When all children have responded and are looking at me I will give my instruction e.g. to come and sit on the carpet. If some children don't come and sit down they usually respond when they hear me praising children for good sitting. Your TA will be able to assist by quietly encouraging reluctant children if needs be. In some situations it can be best just to ignore the fact that a child hasn't come to the carpet - you'll just have to use your professional judgement!

I try not to keep the children sitting for too long on the carpet because they get very fidgety - lots of active involvement is the key :D

I always take the children in small groups to show them the toilets and to explain about flushing, washing hands etc. Also, the boys have a urinal and in the past it has been used for number twos :o so needs explaining too.

Lining up isn't too bad except that the children all want to be the line leader, so I keep a tick list and pick a new person each day. It's usually best to get a few children to line up at a time eg all those with a "ssss" in their name etc.

Your puppets sound great and I'm sure will be a great success :D

 

Don't worry about asking questions, we've all been in the same boat as you. You will be fine!

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Hi

One thing we do at our school which we find good for sitting in a circle, is to have an A4 laminated piece of paper with each childs name on and a picture (which is the same as the picture for their peg). They are placed in a circle before the children sit down (a couple of the children can do this if they want) and the children find their 'mat' and sit on it. The children see it as their own mat and and occasional reminders 'are you all sitting on your mat?' keep bottoms in the right place!

Jo

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Hi Susie - For the first week or two I have lots of free choice activities out to enable me to spend time getting to know my new children, what their interests are, if they can write their name, share and take turns, recognise their numbers etc. We stop at various times ( I ring a bell or say "show me your hands" to gain attention - this encourages children to put down what they are playing with, look at me and wriggle their fingers in the air!!) to have a story on the carpet or song/number rhyme/brain gym activity etc. I read the story 'Owl babies' and stories about starting school. For class rules I talk about 'kind hands, kind feet and kind words' until later in the term when children make up their own class rules. I use lots of positive comments to encourage good behaviour - sitting sensibly on the carpet, asking to go out of the classroom to the toilet, sharing, looking after our things etc. On the board I draw a happy face and write down children's names who are behaving particularly well (working on task, sharing, good at painting, recognising colours - I find this a good tool to raise self-esteem in the classroom. (I only draw a sad side as well if behaviour very taxing! ) Last year one child arrived in my Reception class having had no experience of nursery. At first he walked around the edge of the classroom and he did not join in with the whole class/carpet time activities. I wasn't sure what to do but I focused, and commented on, the behaviour of the other children and built up my relationship with him and he gradually got used to the routines and he settled in. For the first few days I go out into the playground at playtime and go with them to the hall at lunchtime so they can see a familiar face - (useful observation time also!) Remember to relax and smile and the children will follow suit!

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What a lot of really good ideas, I like the idea of names and pictures for carpet tiles- I am going into Nursery this Sept and think I will try that idea- do you think it will work with younger children?

In my reception class I made sure that the children's pegs were labelled with a picture and name so that we knew where all their coats were. If they have new clothes on the first day they may not recognises them at home time. Our children all have thier own tray so that is labelled too. We have a going home book box so I make sure that they all take a book home for their parents to read to them.

They draw a picture of themselves and their family plus pets with their parents before they start and I ask the parents to write the familiy names on them. This gives me something to talk about with the children. We blow them up to A3 on the photocopier, with the child, and then colour bits, add their attempt at writing their name, mount them and make a display. We add their painting of their face and also they use coloured squares to sequence a pattern on an outline of the letter thier name begins with. Looks good and gives opportunities for assessment.

Most of all we let them play in the various areas- role-play is home pay for the first couple of weeks and this is set up ready for the first day.

A good name game is sitting in a circle and the children roll a large ball to each other saying 'My friend is....' This helps me learn thier names too. ( I make name labels for them to where for the first day then any staff coming into contact with them know who they are.)

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  • 6 years later...
What a lot of really good ideas, I like the idea of names and pictures for carpet tiles- I am going into Nursery this Sept and think I will try that idea- do you think it will work with younger children?

In my reception class I made sure that the children's pegs were labelled with a picture and name so that we knew where all their coats were. If they have new clothes on the first day they may not recognises them at home time. Our children all have thier own tray so that is labelled too. We have a going home book box so I make sure that they all take a book home for their parents to read to them.

They draw a picture of themselves and their family plus pets with their parents before they start and I ask the parents to write the familiy names on them. This gives me something to talk about with the children. We blow them up to A3 on the photocopier, with the child, and then colour bits, add their attempt at writing their name, mount them and make a display. We add their painting of their face and also they use coloured squares to sequence a pattern on an outline of the letter thier name begins with. Looks good and gives opportunities for assessment.

Most of all we let them play in the various areas- role-play is home pay for the first couple of weeks and this is set up ready for the first day.

A good name game is sitting in a circle and the children roll a large ball to each other saying 'My friend is....' This helps me learn thier names too. ( I make name labels for them to where for the first day then any staff coming into contact with them know who they are.)

This thread is quite out of date now however there are some fantastic ideas. Anyone do anything different now?

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  • 2 years later...

hi, one their first day (tomorrow) we get the children to decorate a paper bag. They then take it home and bring it back with afew items to describe themselves. They then over the next week show and tell them to the class. I do a demonstration one for the parents to see. The children really lie this. We also make a knock knock who's there book and put in the children photo to help them learn classmates names.

I ve been in eyfs now for 8 years, as you don't know how the children will be, it is always abit of a worry. Don't worry, just go with the flow!

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Guest suchfun

Great ideas here and I agree that children un-used to a structured approach need 'transition' times signalling - with a bell/chimes/whatever you choose. They also need same approach every day so it becomes a habit - modelled to death by all adults. We too have a great mix of languages in our nursery and we find songs / music works really well.

Getting children to the carpet area can be hectic, especially if they all pile on at once - safety!

We line our nursery children up first and then we move to the carpet from the line, initially with lots of adult guidance I hasten to add!

We signal lining up time with a song, plus hugely exaggerated actions from dramatic adults!:

hands on shoulders, hands on shoulders, every-one, every-one - one behind the o-ther, one behind the o-ther, every- one, every-one -the tune is Frere Jacques! We also change the lyrics as we feel necessary to include thank you, thank you, everyone etc - get creative!

It isn't long before the children join in with the words and eventually we sometimes just hum or la la the tune and they know what it means - it does work if you keep at it!

 

Good luck, and enjoy working with this wonderful age group!

 

Jenni

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Wow there has been some brilliant advice so far from people much more experienced than me! I was nqt in reception last year and can totally remember the nervous feelings. I know it doesn't feel like it now but everything will all fall into place! The year will fly buy and you won't believe how quick it has gone! You will learn so much! Enjoy spending time with your children! Your first class is always special! Good luck! Let us know how you get on :-) x

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We sing 1234 put your bottom on the floor, 5678 hurry up and don't be late for getting to the carpet....sang at different speeds depending on how far into term we are!

Making sure we give them some warning before hand e.g. In 5 mins, in 2mins, in 1 min we are going to come to the carpet. Then later in the term we use an online timer on the whiteboard.

 

 

We also use a visual timetable for the morning then afternoon session. Essential for when children are asking for mummy/home time. We take off each picture after it has been completed. Our class clock also has a home symbol next to 3.15 for home time... Works most of the time!

 

Good luck and enjoy, I love reception you will be amazed how much they progress this first time!

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