Welcome to School in PreK
Start with the familiar at the beginning of the year. We start with learning to recognize our names in many ways. Each child gets a chance to build his or her name with these jumbo cubes. You can find the printable letters that fit the cubes in my Jumbo Cubes Alphabet Center. I make a list of the names and highlight the list with the color cubes that students need to use to build their names. This way the student only needs to search through one color of cubes to find the correct letters to build his or her name.
When I prep the cubes, I cut out the alphabet letters and laminate them first. I then use clear tape to put them on the cubes. When finished with this center I can then save the letters for the next year and preparation is easier as time goes on.
You can find the jumbo cubes at Amazon, where I am an affiliate.
Chicka Chicka Sensory Bin
Welcome to School in PreK means the alphabet and lots of letters. This sensory bin has a magnetic tree inspired by the one I discovered on Pre-K Pages. I will need to do some repair work on the lid this year since students enjoyed trying to get the rice into the tree lid this year. The magnetic letters were the ones I used last week on the easel so I knew that all student names would be able to be spelled. The base is green rice.
HELPFUL HINT: Have a hand broom and dust pan at this center and start teaching students how to clean up their own messes right away.
Chicka Chicka Play Dough Mats
We focus our Welcome To School in PreK on a couple main books, including Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. This play dough center has play dough mats from Practically PreK. We also use alphabet sticks from Lakeshore Learning.
HELPFUL HINT: We make homemade play dough that we put in slide lock bags with each student’s name written on the bag with sharpie. Each student has his or her own bag and they need to practice recognizing their own names to find their own play dough.
Welcome to School Snack and Dotting Names
To complete our Welcome to School in PreK week we create a special snack with a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom theme. This year I found alphabet cereal, green apple slices, and graham crackers to build our special snack.
Another Welcome to School in PreK activity also involves names in a different way. Each child has to dot the letters that are in his or her name. These sheets are available with capital and lowercase letters. I print each child’s name at the top of the page for easy reference as we complete the activity.
Welcome to School in Your School Shoes
We also focus on Pete the Cat and his school shoes during our Welcome to School in PreK week. We introduce dot markers and roll and graph activities with this activity that allows students to match colors, practice turn taking, and following directions. Roll and graph activities are great for preschoolers and the ones that only go up to five instead of ten are even better, especially at the beginning of the year when students are still building stamina.
Welcome to School in PreK with Pete the Cat
Pete the Cat is a great way to welcome students to school.
I found some shoes to print, laminate and add laces to for a fine motor center. I used gimp for laces in this center, but you could buy real shoe laces as well.
This set of Pete the Cat story retelling printables were laminated and had magnets added to the back for use on the magnetic easel.
Welcome to School in PreK Shoe Craft
Simple crafts are great for the beginning of the year to practice skills like using glue sticks, stickers, and markers. For this craft I precut the shoes pieces and gave students a bunch of color choices. We practice putting glue on the back of the item as opposed to painting the page with glue.
HELPFUL HINT: Do not assume your students know how to open, twist, or close the glue sticks. This is the time to explicitly instruct on steps to help make the rest of the year easier.
Welcome to School in PreK painting
Since we have a Rainforest theme in our classroom students were able to choose a rainforest animal to paint for our class bulletin board. Students could try to match the colors of the example or paint the animal however they choose. An activity like this gives an idea of each child’s abilities and development level at the beginning of the year.
Alphabet Letter T
In my classroom I have activities that involve many letters, like the Chicka sensory bin, as well as a focus letter each week. This week we start learning about the letter T with many different activities.
Above you can see the CVC word building on the easel. I found this in the Letter T section of This Reading Mama’s Reading the Alphabet.
The writing center has letter T tracing practice as well as letter T word writing practice. I find that it is a good idea to have a variety of levels of activities in the writing center. The word writing practice can be found in the Alphabet Words Letter Tile Center. Just print the cards without letters in the boxes for use with dry erase.
Letter T Pattern Blocks
This week the pattern blocks are on the table. I also place them on the easel with contact paper for another way to practice. The letter T pattern block pages come from Confessions of a Homeschooler. The T with tropical trees can be found here.
Welcome to School in PreK with Science and Sensory Fun
Sensory bottles are a great way to start your science area at the beginning of the year. They are not messy and students can play and discover on their own.
The top bottle has colored water beads, hair gel and water.
The bottom bottle has baby oil, water, and blue dye.
HELPFUL HINT: Be sure to hot glue the bottles shut and watch for students who shake too vigorously as they may hit the bottles on the edge of the table and crack them.
Welcome to School in PreK
Each day begins with a welcome and the question of the day to answer. You can find many questions in my Question of the Day bundle.
Since I teach in a Christian early learning center we have a focus each week on a Bible lesson. We use Cross Connections for Early Learners in our school. You can find samples of the lessons here, including the lesson above, Jesus Blesses the Children.
Freebies For PreK Teachers
Be sure to check out my Freebies for PreK Teachers page for lots of help this year, including a lesson plan form that has lesson ideas for a few different themes, including a School theme.