Don’t Miss a Thing: 107 Preschool Procedures and Strategies to Master Every Transition and Routine for the Perfect First Week of School

Are you ready for the first day of school?

I bet. You probably can’t wait to teach and inspire your new group of students.

With all that excitement, it’s easy to jump right in. You want school to be fun. You want kids to feel that enthusiasm right away.

But before the learning can start, you have to go over the rules. The procedures. The expectations. The transitions. Oh man, is there anything as boring as this?

How can you get kids excited to come to school when we start the year with rules, rules, rules?

Maybe if you breeze through the procedures, you can get to the fun stuff sooner. Maybe if you just give a quick rundown, you can dive into centers and crafts and more.

Sounds like a good idea, right?

Not so much.

You have to get these procedures down at the start. The quicker you get them mastered, the easier your day will become.

Easier days = more fun = less stress = more learning (and more time for learning).

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” He was a smart dude.

If you take the time at the beginning of the year to invest in nailing these procedures down, you and your students will have more time throughout the year to teach, play, and fall in love with learning.

Some of these procedures you will only have to practice once. Some, you will have to practice for a few weeks. The good part? Once your students master them, you won’t ever have to worry about them again.

Which of these situations sounds better?

1) Spend 9 weeks trying to find time to teach procedures in the hall, on the carpet, in the bathrooms, outside at recess, in the cafeteria, at Specials, at the tables, at centers, and everywhere else. Break up your lessons to cram in time for walking the halls and throwing away lunch trays. Spend 50% of your time on procedures, 20% of your time on transitioning around the classroom, and 30% of your time on lessons.


2) Spend 2-3 weeks where you focus 90% of your time on mastering procedures. Master them. Start teaching content in week 4. Dedicate 100% of your time to actual academic content. Kids fall in love with school because you don’t waste time on rules, rules, rules.

In the first example, you rush to get to content. As a result, you spend more and more time over the following weeks trying to master procedures.

In the second example, you take your time learning how to act in school. You nail down procedures and transitions so the class runs smoothly. You have more time for (fun) academic content. You focus primarily on learning and growing brains rather than following rules. Kids feel pride in themselves for their self-discipline and self-control.

Not to mention the compliments they will receive.

“Wow, what a straight and quiet line!”

“This class behaves perfectly in the lunchroom.”

“That was an amazing job lining up at recess. You knew exactly what to do as soon as the whistle blew.”

Your students will be known as the best-behaved preschoolers (maybe even kids) in the whole school. And you will be known as the teacher who led the way.

“Great. I like the second example; now how do we get there?”

I’ve got you covered.

I laid out a list of every tiny procedure that your students will have to master. Don’t be overwhelmed by the size of the list. Most of these procedures are quick and easy. In fact, I bet kids will already know how to do half of them too. Some, of course, will require a lot of time, modeling, and intentional practice.

Trust me. It’s worth it.

Throughout the list, I will show you how to add fun and excitement to these routines If you’re going to learn the rules, might as well make it a good time. I’ll add brief suggestions and examples on how to make these procedures super enjoyable for you and the class.

Before School Procedures

1. How (and Where) to Wait Before Class in the Morning

Show kids where to sit when they come into school. If they come straight up to the classroom, lead the way. If they are expected to sit in the cafeteria, show them the designated spot. Introduce children to the aides and teachers who are on breakfast duty. Explain how to ask for help if they need it.

In my school, we had free and reduced lunch and breakfast for all students. Naturally, many of them ate breakfast at school. After they ate, kids lined up by sitting on the other side of the cafeteria on the floor. They lined up in spots designated for their class and waited for their teachers to come down at 8:00 am to lead them up the stairs to class.

I know not every school is set up the same way, so use the strategies that work best for you and your school. The important thing is to nail down these general procedures, however they look in your school.

2. Breakfast Procedures

Going through the breakfast line. Walking the tray to the table. Throwing away trash. Transitioning from the table to the place they wait for teachers to bring them to class. See “Cafeteria/Lunchtime Procedures” for a more detailed version on how to practice this procedure with your class.

**As a note, start teaching these procedures after you get into the classroom on the first day. Don’t worry about entering the classroom or walking in the halls perfectly as you make your way to the classroom for the first time. Get in. Get settled. Get comfortable. Then, start modeling and working on procedures.**

Line and Hallway Procedures

3.  Walking Feet

Model walking feet. Show kids what they should do by walking quietly yourself. Ask the class: “Can you hear my feet making noise?” Then, try stomping. Jumping. Taking big giant steps. Running. “Are these walking feet? Are my feet being quiet? Are they going slow?” Stomp again. Pound your feet in place. Get a laugh out of your kids!

“Am I doing this right?” you ask.

“No!” they’ll shout back.

Explain the difference between fast and slow. Explain the difference between loud and quiet.

“Why should we walk, not run? Why should we have quiet feet? Do you like it when you hear stomping and jumping? Is it safe to be running and jumping in the halls?”

Ask one of your students to come up to the class and demonstrate how to walk with walking feet. Then, ask them to demonstrate the wrong way to walk in the halls.  Quick! Switch back to walking feet again. Kids will be having a good time and laughing. Ask everyone in the class to show walking feet by walking around the classroom.

4. Inside Voices

Ask the class: “Do you know how to whisper? Show me!” Listen to the kids best whispering voices. “Perfect! When we are in the halls, we don’t want the other classes to know that we are there. We are going to be silent! Let’s practice being silent now.” Let kids talk or make noises. Tell them that when they see you put your finger to your lips (or any other silent symbol/callback), kids get quiet. Practice this a few times.

“Now, when we are in the halls, we need to be totally silent. If you have to talk, you can whisper. But let’s try not to talk.” Practice walking around the classroom with quiet feet and quiet, inside voices.

If you want to show kids the opposite of quiet voices, just like you did with walking feet, start talking really loud. Make it funny. Be mindful if you have children with sensory sensitivities though. Don’t talk loudly enough that you scare these kids. Ask them if this loud talking is the way to talk inside. Tell them this is an outside voice. We can talk like this and be loud when we are playing at the playground or the park. In school, we have to stay quiet because kids are trying to learn.

If you want the concept to really hit home, kids need to feel it. They have to experience something themselves to realize why there is a right or wrong way to act.

Empathy is an emotional experience. Not a thought experiment.

Put on a video of a favorite TV show or song. Get kids excited that you are going to watch an episode of Dora (or whatever they like to watch). As soon as you put it on, start talking really loud so they can’t hear the audio. “Can you hear anything Dora is saying? Why not? Am I talking too loud? Do you like it when people talk loud? How would you like me to talk? A little softer? More of a whisper?” Pause the video. “Can you show me how to talk with an inside voice? I don’t remember how!”

Let kids teach you what they just learned!

5. Hands to Yourself

A lot of teachers like to use “Bubbles and Buckles” to help children learn how to walk in a line. It’s definitely an easy thing to say. On the other hand, if kids can learn that “Bubbles and Buckles” is code for a straight, quiet line where everyone keeps their hands to themselves, then I’m pretty sure they can learn that “Let’s walk in a straight, quiet line” means the same thing. When it comes to the language we use in the classroom (or in this case, in the hallways), I always lean towards using words and phrases that are more universal (and adult).

For example, I remember an assembly we had where the presenter said, “When I say ‘Pizza,” everyone get quiet!” I just remember thinking to myself, “Why not just say ‘Quiet’ or ‘Shhhh’?'”

Yeah, those are less fun than “pizza.”

But adding that extra step of deciphering a code word just doesn’t make sense to me. Kids have to think, “Hmmm, ‘pizza’ means ‘quiet.’ I should get quiet.” It’s the same thing with “bubbles and buckles.” One day a teacher isn’t going to say “Bubbles and Buckles” anymore. They are going to say, “Let’s line up, straight and quiet.” And kids should know exactly what that means without having to rely on a cutesy place to put their hands.

That being said, if Bubbles and Buckles works for you, go for it. I get that I’m being a bit of a stickler on this. It’s just not my style. Always do what works for you and what fits your style. I will always offer you my honest opinion, but I will also always support you in making your classroom your own.

Okay. Let’s get back on track.

So if I don’t use “Bubbles and Buckles,” how do I teach kids to walk in a straight, quiet line with their hands to themselves?

We get our driver’s licenses.

Just because we don’t use bubbles and buckles, doesn’t mean we don’t use our imaginations! This is actually one of my favorite activities all year.

Wait. What do you mean you get driver’s licenses?

Remember how I said I would show you how to make these procedures and routines fun and entertaining? This is a big way how I do it.

First, staple a bunch of pieces of construction paper together in the corners.

Then, use a compass to draw a circle as big as you can on the top paper.

Cut out the circles (stapling the papers together helps make this easy) and laminate them.

Now you have steering wheels for your young drivers-in-training.

As you practice walking through the halls (or the roads), students have to keep their hands on the wheels and their eyes on the road. They have to follow traffic and stay in their lane. They need to remain quiet because no one likes it when people get excessive with their horn. And they absolutely have to keep their hands to themselves. If they bump into or touch another person, that’s like having an accident on the road. Their car will be wrecked! And they will never get their license!

You should also talk to kids about personal space in general (Routine #28). Kind, gentle touches. All that good stuff can be mixed into this procedure.

But when you are finally ready to practice in the hallway, the steering wheels give kids an opportunity to keep their hands occupied. Even more so, it creates a relevant experience where they want to keep their hands to themselves. They don’t want to crash their car!

6. How to Walk in a Straight, Compact Line

Keep using your steering wheels to keep the line straight. Remind kids that they need to stay in their lines. They certainly don’t want to drive into oncoming traffic! Especially not when those big 18-wheeler-sized fifth graders come barreling through the halls.

Staying in a straight line keeps you safe. Practice walking while keeping your eyes on the person in front of you. A helpful trick is to have kids watch the back of the child’s head. Make sure not to crash into them, though!

Remind your class to obey the speed limit. Remember, it’s a school-zone and kids are walking everywhere! We have to be safe!

This is actually more than a cute gimmick. Most of the time, I never had a problem with a straight line. But a compact line? That was a different story.

I can’t tell you how many times my line would stretch from one end of the school to the other. I mean, it was a looooooonnnngggg line.

By hammering home this speed limit idea and keeping up with traffic, you can address this issue before it ever begins.

In terms of procedures, this is one of the most important. We tend to focus on making sure the line is straight and we forget all about the procedures that keeps our line together. You have to be super intentional when it comes to every aspect of the line.

Without the right procedures, a line can turn into a crowd. Fast.

And it’s much harder to control a crowd.

Unlike a lot of other cute hallway procedures, the traffic and driving metaphors translate perfectly on every aspect.

  • Follow the speed limit.
  • Stay in your lane.
  • Keep up with traffic.
  • Keep your hands on the wheel.
  • Keep your eyes on the road.
  • Drive carefully.
  • Don’t crash.
  • No honking.

And do you know the best part?

Driving is relevant to kids. It makes them feel adult. Makes them feel mature and responsible. Bubbles and buckles is a great trick but when are kids catching bubbles in their mouth or buckling themselves up? It isn’t relevant to them.

But driving?

It’s exciting.

It’s empowering.

It works.

And once your class masters the hallway procedures, that’s when the real empowerment kicks in. It’s time to trust them on the road by themselves.

Print out blank driver’s license templates for your state and glue their photos into the photograph area. Laminate these licenses and hand them out to a group of proud new drivers. I guarantee kids will be thrilled with their accomplishment and the maturity that comes along with being a “driver.”

You can hand these licenses out one-at-a-time or as a class. I prefer to do it one-at-a-time so the kids who need a little extra motivation can see the rewards for their accomplishments. Slowly transition away from using the steering wheels.

Another great part about the driver’s licenses: if you ever have issues in the halls, you can always suspend/revoke a license. If this is the case, the student with the suspended license may have to ride as a passenger with you or another driver. This means holding a hand as they walk through the halls. And remind them, this isn’t a punishment but a way to keep everyone on the road safe. As soon as this student can drive safely and carefully, s/he can have his or her license back.

I am telling you, this steering wheel procedure is GOLD. And we’re not done yet. Just wait and see how you can use it to practice cafeteria procedures, too.

7. How to Walk Up/Down the Stairs

You may not have stairs in your school. If you don’t, ignore this procedure. If you do, then Stair Safety is about as important as any other procedure on this list.

My school did have two sets of stairs so we had to practice getting this right. Obviously, there are the basics.

  • Hands on the rail.
  • One step at a time.
  • Walking feet.

For Pre-K, it is developmentally appropriate that students will step onto each stair one foot at a time before stepping to the next stair in the same way. Their gross motor skills will develop throughout the year. Eventually, they will be able to walk down the stairs as you do — alternating feet with each step. They’re not quite there yet. For now, show them how to walk by placing each foot on a stair before moving to the next.

Stair safety should seem obvious, but if you need to hammer the point home, show them what happens when you drop a tennis ball down the stairs. “Do we want to bounce down the stairs, step-by-step? Wouldn’t that hurt? We need to be careful and go down one at a time.”

You also want to designate which side of the stairs is for coming up and which side is for going down. Our school used to color code the railings so kids knew which side was which. You can also use colored tape to paint arrows on the stairs. Your school most likely has rules on which side is up and which side is down. It’s important to make this clear because we don’t want kids crashing into each other on the stairs.

With the stairs, there will always be crawlers. There will always be those who can’t help but mess around. It’s bound to happen.

Keep an eye out for these situations and address them in the moment. In the meantime, practice the hell out of the stair procedures to make sure kids stay as safe as they can.

Entering Classroom Procedures

8. How to Enter the Classroom

This one is simple enough. Practice walking in the classroom.

All the same rules of walking in the hall — walking feet, hands to ourselves, quiet voices, etc.

Prepare them that they are about to see their amazing new classroom. This is a good time to get them HYPED.

“Guys, we are about to enter our classroom. This is where we are going to spend so much time together. Learning, Growing, Having fun! Now, you are going to see lots of fun toys and games, lots of crayons and markers and colored pencils, lots of puzzles and books. I know you’re going to be excited. I’m excited. But we have to stay in the line when the door opens. Do you think you can do that?”

Are you ready to see our classroom?

Okay, I’m going to open the door in 3, 2, …

Wait… When we go into the classroom are we going to run around and grab the toys and books and puzzles?”


“Okay, good. When I open the door, are you guys going to rush in there and scream and throw your things around the room?”


“Okay great. So when I open the door we are going to all stay quiet and stay in…?


“Yes, we have to stay in line! I know you’re going to be excited but I promise we will get to play with everything in the room but we have to listen first. And we have to learn how to play with everything so we stay safe and our toys don’t break. Okay. Are you ready for me to open the door?”


“Okay, here we go. 3, 2, 1…”

Open the door.

You may have to remind them one more time to stay in line and to be as quiet as they can be.

A few “Whoa”s and “Ahhhh”s are definitely acceptable though.

“Okay, before we can go to our tables, we have to take off our backpacks. Everyone, come in one-at-a-time and I’ll show you how.”

9. How to Put On, Take Off, and Carry a Backpack

Kids entering Pre-K are still learning a lot about how to move and use their bodies.

And putting on and taking off a backpack can be a complicated maneuver.

Now, you can practice doing this as a class, but I think you would rather we make these procedures a little more fun than boring, repetitive practice. Am I right?

Well, how can we make putting on a backpack more fun?

Do it yourself and put on a show!

Fun insight about kids: they love exaggeration.

Why else would clowns ride around in tiny cars and wear over-size shoes?

Because kids LOVE it. They get a kick out of it. It plays on basic expectations in a very visual, very over-the-top, very silly way.

The best teachers in the world use this to their advantage every day. 

You’re an adult. So naturally, kids expect you to act like an adult. To act in a certain way. You know, an adult way.

But when you act like a kid, that’s unexpected. When you show excitement, humor, and goofiness — that resonates with kids.

When you act clueless and oblivious on how to accomplish a task, you empower kids to be their experts. And kids love to help.  If a routine seems super obvious and simple, let kids lead the way. Empower them to come to the rescue and show you how to put your backpack on!

What does this look like in action?

Before the first day of school, buy a kid’s backpack at Walmart. Don’t make it too small that you can’t put it on easily but make it small enough that it makes kids laugh.

When they enter the classroom, show them your new backpack and how excited you are to hang it up on your first day of school.

Then, you struggle.

Not in a frustrated way. In an “over-the-top, I think I may be stuck with this thing on my back forever” kind of way.

Kids will laugh. Ask them if someone can show you how to take a backpack off.

Narrate what they are doing so the rest of the class can hear the directions.

“So, I slide it off my shoulders? And let my arms fall through these holes here? Oh my god it worked! We did it! Now, let’s all try taking our backpacks off.”

Kids will all take their backpacks off and ta-da! you made a simple “how to” into a fun experience.

“Okay, we got it off, but how do we put it back on?”

Again, show them the struggle. Play up your confusion. Do you step into the armbands? Do you put one around your neck? Gauge the classroom’s excitement and self-control. You don’t want to get them too riled up so they are all trying to mimic your silliness.

Have someone show you how to put the back pack back on. If for some reason, no one can figure it out, then you miraculously can figure it out and lead the class in putting the backpacks back on.

“Okay, that’s amazing! We are learning already! And we are having fun!

Let’s learn how to hang our backpacks up so we can have even more fun today!

This one I know how to do so watch and listen and then you can try.

First, I’m going to take off my backpack one more time. Thanks for showing me how!”

10. How to Hang Up Backpacks & Jackets

Do you have hooks in your classroom? Hopefully they work and don’t break off easily.

Depending on how your classroom is set up, you may have different routines for hanging up backpacks and jackets.

Our hooks always broke off from the wall, so there was never enough room for backpacks and jackets.

So, during the Winter and Fall, our jackets went into a giant cardboard box and our backpacks went on the wall (or up against the wall).

If you have cubbies, assign kids their cubbies and put their pictures inside so they can identify their own. As the year goes on, you can use put letters, colors, numbers, and shapes in the cubbies as a quick assessment. When kids go to their cubbies, ask them what letter they found inside.

For hanging up backpacks, it’s pretty simple. Have students come in one-by-one and show them the loop on top of the backpack. Instruct them on how to hold the loop and connect it to the hook.

If you have hooks too high for them to reach, ask them to pass you their backpack as you hang it up.

As the year goes on and kids become more independent and confident (and gain better balance), I guarantee that they will find a chair to stand on and do this themselves.

While this can be dangerous, you have to admire the problem-solving skills.

Are you starting to feel like I’m really stretching out some of these procedures?

I hope so. Because the thing about procedures for kids who have never been to school before — every little piece matters.

If you don’t show kids how to hang up their backpacks on the hook, you’ll have plenty of backpacks sitting on the floor. Sure, many of them will figure it out. But some of them won’t without some direction and examples.

My first year, I overlooked so many of these micro-procedures. I just assumed kids knew how to do them. I assumed kids would figure out how to hold their lunch tray. How to walk through the lunch line. How to line up at recess. How to use the sink in the bathroom. How to hang up their backpacks.

And they will figure it out.

Through trial and error.

By being intentional about every detail in the routines, you will eliminate a lot of those trials and a lot of those errors.

This makes your job easier in the long run. It makes kids safer and more independent.

Doesn’t that sound like a better first week than constantly putting out fires?

11. How to Zip/Unzip a Backpack

Hanging the backpack should be a procedure you only have to teach once or twice.

And even though you only teach it a few times, kids will practice it every day. That’s a quick and simple fine motor activity built into every morning.

Similarly, another fine motor skill involves zipping and unzipping.

Again, very simple.

Zip. Unzip.

Zipped all the way means closed. Unzipped is open.

(Another easy misstep in the first week of school is assuming kids know these basic vocabulary words (open, closed). Most will. Some won’t. It’s important to demonstrate and show the definition in the context of what you’re already learning. Just slip it in seamlessly. Kids will pick up on it.)

You may be thinking, “Okay, we just hung up the backpacks. Now you want me to take them down again and teach zipping and unzipping?”

Great question. And I hear you.

The morning may not be the best time to teach this. You don’t have to do all of these routines in chronological order. I just want to lay out the most comprehensive list for you and I am trying to group the procedures in some sort of logical way. I don’t care if you teach how to zip/unzip as kids walk in, when you hand out folders, at the end of the day, or any other time. After all, it will only take two minutes. You can go over it at any time during your day.

The important thing is to make sure you go over it.

12. How to Put On/Take Off Your Jacket

Another simple one that sounds simple but has a lot more to it.

I’m going to put off writing up fun ways to teach this because you may not even have jackets until later in the year. Also, a lot of the previous strategies on backpacks can apply to jackets in the same way.

You can save this procedure for recess or when you go over the weather on the carpet. Or, later in the year when it’s more necessary.

When the weather cools, you will definitely have to spend some time teaching how put on and take off jackets. The zipping/unzipping/buttoning adds another element that can take up more time than a simple procedure in the doorway.

And you have spent enough time in the doorway.

Let’s get on with it and get the day started!

13. How to Transition from Entering the Classroom

Kids come in. Hang up their backpacks and jackets. Now where do they go?

I started my teaching career by sending kids straight to centers.

Rookie mistake.

And I struggled. And do you know why?

Because my procedures and routines were trash.

Of course, I didn’t know this at the time. I approached one of the veteran Kindergarten teachers for mentorship.

Her advice? Two words.

Morning work.

Really, her advice was to establish predictable routines that would make kids feel secure and comfortable. Routines that would start the day off with calm and academics, rather than wild play.

But really, what she meant was morning work.

So we started doing morning work every morning.

Kids walked up the stairs (nicely). Entered the classroom. Unzipped their bags. Took out their folders and placed them in the in the folder bin. Zipped up bags back up. Hung up their backpacks. And walked to the tables to get started on an art project, writing assignment, puzzle, book, letter tracing, or anything else.

Your morning work may look different.

Or maybe you don’t do morning work.  Maybe you go straight to the carpet. Maybe you go to centers and have no problems at all (will you share your secret with us?).

No matter your style, figure out where kids are going to go after hanging up their backpack and show them how to go there. If it’s their tables, make sure to have name tags already in place.  Show them where to find their names or see who can recognize their names already.

*Quick Tip for Name Tags – Laminate name tags. Put sticky side of Velcro on tables and cotton side on name tags. If you need to make changes to seating arrangements, this makes it much easier than pulling tape off and reapplying. *

For the first day, I highly recommend sending kids to the tables after they enter the classroom. It’s the easiest place to have some control and keep an eye on everyone.

Model how to walk to the tables, pull out the chair, sit down, and wait.

Spoiler Alert: There are a lot of procedures that go into sitting at tables and we will flesh them out later in this list. For now, just model the behavior you’d like to see and behavior narrate as the children do it themselves.




I will continue to add to this post each day until the entire list is complete.



Morning Work Procedures

  1. Pledge and Morning Announcements Routine
  2. Morning Work Procedures
  3. Table work procedures
  4. What to Do when Morning Work is Finished
  5. Transitioning to Carpet or Centers

Transition Procedures

  1. How to leave tables, push in chairs
  2. How to sit in chairs
  3. How to wait your turn/for name or table to be called
  4. Tables to Centers/Centers to Tables
  5. How to Leave the Carpet – Tables to Carpet/Carpet to Tables
  6. Lining Up
  7. Moving through the classroom

Carpet Procedures

  1. How to come to the carpet
  2. How to sit Criss-Cross Applesauce
  3. Carpet Routine
  4. How to raise your hand
  5. Smart Board Procedures
  6. Personal Space

Listening Procedures

  1. Eyes and ears on WHOMEVER is speaking
  2. Hands to yourself
  3. Quiet when others are talking
  4. Thinking about what they are saying (letting your brain talk to you)

General Procedures

  1. How to get teacher’s attention in different places
  2. How to ask for a tissue/get a tissue
  3. Daily Schedule Routine
  4. Small Group Procedures
  5. Large Group Procedures

Going to the Restroom as a Class Procedures

  1. How to wait in line for restroom
  2. How to use the toilet and flush
  3. Personal space in the restroom
  4. How to wash your hands with soap
  5. How to use the water fountain
  6. What to do when you are done

Going to the Restroom Individually Procedures

  1. How to ask to use the restroom/drink from table
  2. How to ask to use the restroom/drink from carpet
  3. How to ask to use the restroom/drink from centers
  4. What to do if another class is at the restroom/fountain
  5. How to get help if you need it

Art Procedures

  1. What to do when finished with work
  2. How to hold/use Pencil/Crayon Procedures
  3. How to use scissors
  4. How to use glue
  5. Marker Procedures
  6. Table Game/manipulative Procedures
  7. Cleaning up Tables
  8. How to throw trash away

Cafeteria/Lunchtime Procedures

  1. How to enter cafeteria
  2. How to go through lunch line
  3. How to hold your tray and go to lunch table
  4. Where to sit (which lunch table and which seats)
  5. How to eat and use utensils
  6. How to open and drink milk
  7. Table manners
  8. How to ask for help in the cafeteria
  9. How to throw away your trash
  10. How to ask to use the restroom
  11. How to line up
  12. How to leave cafeteria
  13. Lunchboxes procedures

Recess Procedures

  1. How to walk out to recess
  2. Playground rules and consequences
  3. How to listen to playground monitors
  4. How to use swings, slides, and other playground equipment
  5. How to ask for help at recess (bathroom, hurt, problem)
  6. How to ask to use the restroom
  7. How to line up when recess is over (listen for whistle)
  8. Indoor recess procedures

Nap/Rest Time Procedures

  1. Transition to nap time
  2. Getting nap map and blanket
  3. Making bed
  4. Nap time procedures and expectations
  5. Waking up and transitioning from nap time

Going to Specials Procedures

  1. Lining up for specials
  2. Procedures in specials
  3. School library procedures

Centers Procedures

  1. How to use each center
  2. How to handle books
  3. how to clean up each center
  4. How many people can be at each center – necklaces, bracelets, Velcro,
  5. Introduce one center at a time until mastery

Dismissal Procedures

  1. Getting backpacks
  2. Lining up to go home
  3. Waiting for parents
  4. How to handle work in backpacks

Other Procedures

98. Folder Procedures

Last on the “Entering Classroom” procedures: How to Turn in Your Folders.

My guess?  They don’t have folders yet on the first day. And that means this probably isn’t the biggest priority.

In fact, I let students design and (try to) write their names on the folders during morning work on the first day. We also label each side of the folder with paint and handprints. The right side?  That’s for permission slips, homework, and other papers that need to “Come RIGHT back.” The left side? That’s for class work, announcements, calendars, and other items that can be “LEFT at home.”

Cute, right?

Still, this is not a procedure that needs teaching right away. No need to overwhelm kids with all of the procedures on this list on the first day. This is a teacher resource so you don’t forget a thing. Most of these procedures won’t even feel like separate tasks. But I broke it up into every tiny moment because the devil is in the details and I don’t want anything devilish to happen in your classroom!

But for the folders, don’t worry about this until it matters. This goes for anything that seems overwhelming. I mean, you do want to teach this sooner-rather-than-later because eventually, you will get tired of pulling folders out of backpacks every day. Also, allowing kids to do put take out and hand-in their own folders gives them an easy responsibility to start the day.

But in terms of making it fun or practicing this procedure, it’s just taking out a folder. Nothing really fancy to it.

If you do make it slightly fancy, maybe you have folder trays for each student, then teach that when kids have the other procedures down and can recognize their names.

Again, I know this list is 107 procedures but that doesn’t mean we should teach 107 procedures on the first day, or even the first week.

This is one that can wait.

  1. Technology Procedures
  2. Substitute procedures
  3. Visitors in the classroom – how to greet,
  4. Self-Reflection tips
  5. How to help your friends
  6. How to report vs. tattle
  7. Classroom Job Procedures – line leader, door holder, greeter, etc.
  8. Fire Drills, Tornado Drills, Lockdown Drills, etc. (save for a few weeks)
  9. Explaining Unique to Your Classroom Procedures – quiet critters, quiet stick, displays, culture builders,

2 thoughts on “Don’t Miss a Thing: 107 Preschool Procedures and Strategies to Master Every Transition and Routine for the Perfect First Week of School

  1. Heidi says:

    Is there an order that you would recommend teaching these in? Do I start on day 2? Any suggestions for doing this with English language learners? Thanks!

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