Setting up your Calendar Area for Success in Preschool

One of the most important, yet time consuming areas of the classroom to set up in preschool is the carpet time/calendar area.  This will be the main meeting area for the class throughout the year.  The children will learn to follow routines and rules, learn how to be a kind friend, listen to stories, sing and learn what school is all about.  Follow these simple steps and you will have the most amazing carpet time area.
Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.


1.  Location is Everything 
When scoping out a location for your carpet there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • proximity to the door or cubby 

 I like to greet the children from the carpet in order to allow them to independently complete our morning routine, so I like the carpet area to be close to the entrance of the room or close to where they hang their backpacks.  That way I am able to keep an eye on them while chatting with the students on the carpet.  This will also limit the distractions.   

  • plenty of wall space for a calendar and other fun calendar time activities
 Back in the day you moved your classroom around based on the locations of the bulletin boards.  Now days there are a lot of bulletin hacks, like hanging fabrics and other easy DIY bulletin boards that you can choose a location that is the most convenient for you.

  • access to a plug in or could safely run an extension cord to a plug in from the location 
Whether you can run an extension cord will be up to your center or school, so keep this is mind when you are looking for a location!

2.  Have a Plan
This is one of my favorite areas to set up.  I put a lot of thought as to what I will place on the walls.  I use the early learning standards, district standards and what is expected at the beginning of kindergarten to plan out the concepts that I want to cover.  It is one of the easiest places to observe children so I like to include concepts that are a big part of our progress report.  
Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.
Several items to include in your carpet area are a calendar, direction icons, alphabet and skill of the day activities.  
Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.
  • Set up the calendar on the floor first.  This will help you determine how much space/paper you will need.




Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.
  • Always cut the paper a little longer than needed.
To be on the safe side I like to place a little more paper then needed.  It is easy to cut off any extra when I have added the items.  I love this fo wood paper.  I found this at Lakeshore.

Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.
  • Mix up patterned borders
 I love these cute forest themed borders.  Students will love looking at these cute little guys everyday!
Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.


  • Staple the top corner over the side border
I seriously took a class for my preschool minor that had lessons on how to put up a bulletin board and this was something that the professor would dock us for...make those corners neat:)

3.  What to Include in your Calendar Area

Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.

  • Calendar

One thing I always include is a calendar.  For the first few months of preschool and kindergarten we focus on one week. 
I like the boys and girls to start to recognize that there are 7 days in a week and we attend school 5 of those days.  The boys and girls take turns pointing to the calendar as we sing out "Days of the Week" songs by Dr. Jean and other youtube artists.     There are so many ways to change up calendar time to make it fun and exciting.   


Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.
Our theme this year was forest animals.  I tried to make our calendar as interactive as possible.  
I used a laminated Calendar and added cute forest library pocket charts. 

Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.

I take cute popsicle sticks and cut them in a little over a half to fit into each of the pockets.  I add the numbers 1-30 to the stickers to use for the day of the week.  During the first few weeks I put an X at the top for the days we do not have school (weekends).  We switch over to the number system by October in Kindergarten and November in Preschool.

Each day we will flip the stick to reveal the number.  This is a simple way to make a calendar more appropriate for preschool.  

Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.


  • Shape of the Day and or any Skill of the Day Activity

I also, like to include a concept of the day.  Shape of the Day is the skill we work on when school begins.  We will work on shapes for several weeks and then move on to Name of the Day, Number of the Day and Letter of the Day before we return back to Shape of the Day.  This unit will work in a small or large area with large and small pieces, as well as colored and black and white options.   

What I like about skills of the day activities is that you can differentiate throughout the year to meet the needs of your students.  Many preschool students have not mastered shapes and need lots of practice.  We work on one shape a week.  
Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.

Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.
The boys and girls will search and compare shapes circling the shape of the day.
Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.  Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.
In Trace It and Draw It the boys and girls work on shape formation.

Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.
2D Shapes is a great way for students to make shape connections from their environment.
Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.
  • Visual Directions
I always include visual directions in our calendar area.  As I give directions to projects and activities I place the visual direction in order from 1-4.  If the children become confused they know where to go for help.

Calendar Ideas for preschool and Kindergarten.  Back to School Ideas.

  •  Alphabet
Repetition is key for any concept in preschool.  When a child is the calendar helper they take a turn pointing to each letter as we sing or say the alphabet song.  As the year progresses I have the students try to spell there name, look for what letter comes next and a few of the kids will look for sounds.  Depending on the levels in the classroom.  
A few other things you may want to include in this area are a greeting board or question of the day, weather chart and job chart.



Teacher Appreciation Giveaway and Blog Hop


We are blog hopping today for a chance to win TpT gift cards.  Make sure you "Hop" to each store for a chance to win at each location.  Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a $10.00 TPT Gift card.  

 Remember this is a hop so click on the picture below to visit Mrs. V's Chickadees!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Teacher Appreciation Tag Freebie ~Thanks for Helping us Blossom


Are you looking for a cute teacher appreciation gift idea?  Any teacher would love these cute tags and gift idea.

These adorable tags come in two styles.  One with a little girl on the front and the other with a little boy.    

I attached the tags to flower cookies from our local bakery ~Carl's Cakes.  I also found cute flower gift certificates at Target and attached them to the backs of the tags. 


The tags come in two different sizes for large or small cookies.  They would also be cute on a plant or flowers!
Get this freebie (here)!

Looking for more fun ideas for May?

   
   


    



5 Ways to Prepare your Preschool Classroom for Next Year

Get your preschool classroom ready!  5 things you can do now to prepare your preschool classroom for next year!
The beginning of the school year can be hectic.  It doesn't matter if you have taught 20 years or 2 years, we all struggle to stay organized and focused with the millions of tasks we need to complete.  Preschool and kindergarten teachers not only have recreate their rooms each year, they have to have them up and running prior to the school year starting due to open house and orientation.  This can leave teachers frazzled and overwhelmed.  However, there are things that you can do now that are simple and won't interfere with your already crazy schedule.

1.  Laminate Nameplates and Cut-outs you Plan to use the Following Year.
After teaching 8 years in a district based 4K, I have learned that if you don't start prepping before the end of the school year-you may be paying out of pocket costs.  Most schools have employees in charge of making copies and laminating and many of these positions start a few days before school and by then, you have already had open house.  So I always have nameplates, name tags and bus labels laminated by the end of the year.  When class lists are posted in August, I label everything using a permanent marker.
Get your preschool classroom ready!  5 things you can do now to prepare your preschool classroom for next year!

2.  Prepare Child Folders
As a part of our program hours we have a preschool orientation and open house.  At the open house each family gets a folder for their child to use throughout the school year.   When school starts and there is no one to make copies, I end up making a stop at a copier store and foot the bill. Prepping folders prior to the end of the year saves time and money.
Get your preschool classroom ready!  5 things you can do now to prepare your preschool classroom for next year!
   What I include in the folder:
  • Welcome to Preschool (Overview of the Year with contact Info)
  • Preschool Schedule
  • Contact Information (a personal one for myself)
  • Bus Rider/First Week of School Label
  • Meet the Teacher Letter
  • Newsletter Sample
  • Media Release Form
  • School Background check
  • Volunteer Form
  • Business Card
 I make sure that each page is a certain color.  That way when I discuss the pages at orientation I can refer to the color in case they are out of order.  District forms that change each year, I place in piles on a table near the entrance.  While parents wait for their child's folder, they can grab the needed forms. 

3.  Classroom Week by Week Calendar
Items that are used on a daily basis like the calendar, alphabet, weather chart and job charts receive a lot of wear and tear throughout the year.  If there is damage to the items I will reprint and laminate or replace.  I place the items in a tub labeled "calendar," which I can easily find at the beginning of the year.   The calendar is the focal point of the classroom and can be very time consuming to set up, so having all of the pieces fresh and ready to go will help with set up time.
Get your preschool classroom ready!  5 things you can do now to prepare your preschool classroom for next year!
Week by week calendar available (here).

4.  Classroom Behavior and Routine Charts
One of my behavior management tools that I use is a play center rotation chart.  This board takes a lot of wear and tear throughout the year as well.  To save time my assistant or myself update this activity during our last few days of school by replacing the ripped library and center cards.  I store this board in a poster box and it is easy to pull out and have attached to the wall prior to orientation.  

Get your preschool classroom ready!  5 things you can do now to prepare your preschool classroom for next year!


5.  Arrival Routine and Folder Box
Another activity that I like to prepare ahead of time is our arrival board and folder label.  Each day the boys and girls place their owl on the board and their folder in the folder box before heading to the carpet.  Get a copy of the folder label and "Who's here today? sign (here). 
Get your preschool classroom ready!  5 things you can do now to prepare your preschool classroom for next year!


Most of the items that I like to have prepped and ready are things that will make the room presentable for open house/orientation.  I want the parents and children to have an idea of how our daily routines work and I like to make reference to these important routines throughout orientation.
Also, the summer is a precious time to myself and family.  I want to spend as much time at home as I can prior to returning, so the more prepared I am the less time I have to spend in my hot classroom:)  




Spring Math and Literacy Printables and Worksheets for Pre-K and Kindergarten

If you are like me, you are scrambling to find fun and engaging spring activities that help build skills in the areas of ELA and math.  We are in the home stretch, the last three months of school and we want to keep kids focused and engaged.  This is the time of the year when I bring out the big guns--the most colorful and engaging activities and centers.

One of my favorite activities is Spring Color by Sight Words Pre-Primer, Spring Color by Primer, Spring Color by Sight Words First Grade and Spring Color by ABC's

Spring Color by Sight Words ELA and Literacy PrintbalesSpring Color by Sight Words ELA and Literacy Printbales
I love giving the boys and girls the opportunity to color.  Coloring is usually a "finish early" activity in kindergarten, so the students are thrilled for the opportunity.  

The boys and girls can use several different mediums of art, like markers, colored pencils, crayons and water colors (use construction paper for painting).  

The Color by Sight Word/ABC's Printables are great for home school, literacy centers, homework and finish early work.  



If you are looking for fun and engaging printables and worksheets for your preschool that ties into the early learning standards you will love Spring Math and Literacy Printables and Worksheets.  
Spring math and literacy printables and worksheets for preschoolSpring math and literacy printables and worksheets for preschool
The boys and girls will work on measurement and shapes.

Spring math and literacy printables and worksheets for preschoolSpring math and literacy printables and worksheets for preschool

Spring math and literacy printables and worksheets for preschoolSpring math and literacy printables and worksheets for preschool
One-to-one correspondence, counting and number identification to 10.

Spring math and literacy printables and worksheets for preschoolSpring math and literacy printables and worksheets for preschool
They will work on seasonal themes like weather, and color a flower scene by letters.
Spring math and literacy printables and worksheets for preschoolSpring math and literacy printables and worksheets for preschool
They will also work on letter formation, rhyming, syllables, coloring, uppercase and lowercase letters, simple sound activities and fine-motor skills.

If you are looking for more spring activities for preschool and kindergarten you may like: