Back to School Checklist – The Teacher Edition

Are you ready for the Big Return to School? As the summer holidays gradually come to a blissful end, it’s time to cast your thoughts back to the classroom! The new school year is quickly approaching meaning it’s a fresh start for both pupils and teachers alike. Making sure your classroom is in order in preparation for your little learners and the new academic year can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task, even for the most seasoned teacher. With so much to do and so little time, there’s no need for you to worry as we’ve got a list of practical hints and tips and all the right resources to help you settle back into school.  

Between setting up the classroom, getting organised and purchasing supplies to scheduling your timetable and planning out lots of fun-filled activities, there’s so much going on! Whether you’re a seasoned pro or setting up your very first classroom, you’ll be sure to find all the right essentials to see you through the academic year. Read on for our top suggestions to get you prepped and ready, just in time for school.  

1. Setting up the classroom

The key to success in the classroom is creating a positive learning environment that inspires children and encourages a love of learning. Research has told us that a well-designed classroom and learning space can allow children to learn physical boundaries, establish what behaviours are acceptable and anticipate activities that will occur. To set yourself up for success, structure your classroom in a way that is neat and organised, has dedicated areas or “zones” for learning and makes use of colourful displays.

  • Include clearly labelled storage to encourage children to tidy away independently
  • Design your classroom to include dedicated areas for specific learning even if it is just a corner of the room
  • Arrange classroom furniture strategically so you can see everything from your desk
  • Include furniture that allows resources to be accessed independently for example books on lower bookshelves.
  • Prominently display children’s work
  • Create colourful displays to show off seasonal or curricular topics

2. Get organised

It goes without saying, organisation and success go hand in hand. There is no better time to be organised than the return to school. This means ensuring you have everything you need to implement effective lessons and support learning. Don’t let the classroom essentials be an afterthought, because after all, the classroom would not be a classroom without all your stationery, exercise books, boards, pencils, pens, files…

  • New resources are an effective indicator of a new year and new mindset and can help get children prepared for learning
  • Make sure you are well stocked up on the basics so that there is no last minute panic on the first day back
  • As well as the basics, make sure you have a supply of additional resources like reward stickers and signs for the classroom

3. Lesson planning

Plan, plan, plan! Use the time off to plan a variety of activities from curricular activities with new resources to make lessons fresh and exciting, to ice breakers for the children for the first day back. You should also consider preparing fallback lesson plans if all else fails. The first day back can set the tone for the rest of the term and is therefore the most important day to get right. Lesson planning in advance can ensure that this first day back to school is full of activities to ease children back into learning and make them feel inspired for the rest of the term.

  • Planning ahead will take the stress out of the job at hand and will make the learning process easier and more fun for all
  • Try and use new resources for your curricular lessons to make topics new and exciting, for example, the latest Numicon or phonics resources
  • Ensure you have a plan B (or C!) if all else fails
  • Despite our best intentions, planning may not always go to plan! Free downloadable resources that support curricular topics are a fantastic way to ensure you don’t fall flat if inspiration or planning fails you

4. Prepare activities

Activities such as arts and crafts and games are a great way to get the new school year off to a memorable start. Arts and crafts in particular can be used effectively to re-ignite children’s creativity and coax even the shyest children out of their shells. Such activities are also great as time-fillers between learning and are a proven way to consolidate learning and thus support the curriculum. Make sure you have stocked up on plenty of arts and craft supplies to support a variety of different activities!

  • Activities will come in handy during that first week in particular as you ease children back into learning. Why not break the ice with Conversation Cubes
  • When lesson planning, think of ways learning can be supported with activities that will make teaching that little bit more fun and memorable
  • Get children to feel comfortable with one another with “all about me” activities – a great way to re-introduce the class to each other
  • Preparing lots of art and craft activities for the first few weeks will help children find the whole return to school experience less daunting and more fun!

5. Take a deep breath

While September is a hectic time for teachers, children and parents, it’s also an exciting time getting back into the swing of things. Between all the chaos, planning, running around and attempting to keep calm, it can be easy to miss something along the way. From arranging your classroom to ensure it supports learning and development or compiling reading lists, there is plenty to be getting on with after the summer holidays are over. Our handy back to school checklist is a must for EYFS and primary school teachers who don’t know where to start, need a little focus or a reminder of all the important essentials. Print it out, pin it to your notice board or even forward it to your teacher friends. Get organised one step at a time, in time for the new term and most importantly, take a deep breath, remember to smile and enjoy the ride!

In need of a little inspiration or looking for last minute resources? Make the most of our free downloadable resources. From certificates to reward the most behaved students to printable Christmas activities, we have a wonderful collection of downloads.  All you need is a registered account and a printer! If you haven’t already, sign up for full access to our free downloadables.

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