Back To School: Tips to Prepare for a Successful School Year

Ah, that bittersweet moment when you hear the word “school” again. Just moments ago, you were on the beach with your flip flops, applying sunscreen on your skin, enjoying a refreshing drink, and then August arrives. It seems like any minute from now, you are going to hear the lovely sound of the alarm clock again, eager to tell you to wake up and start the day. Going back to school is definitely an emotional experience! It could mean happiness and surprise, seeing all the faces, the changes in your students, and colleagues. It could also mean worries, uncertainties, and even a little bit of excitement thinking about the next journey that you and your students will go through together. We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you prepare for the next school year, check them out below, and hopefully it will help you better prepare for your next adventure with the young ones! 

  1. A Welcoming Classroom 

Creating an inviting environment in the classroom provides the foundation for a positive learning experience. Objects in the classroom will be one of the first things students notice and interact with, so it’s important to decorate your classroom with eye-catching displays such as colourful paintings, and inspiring quotes. Set up desks, tables, and cabinets in a way that makes it easy for communication between students. Organizing the desks strategically can encourage interaction and teamwork, fostering a sense of belonging among students. Shifting the classroom layout also helps to keep the classroom new and motivate the pupils. Finally, you can add small but meaningful touches like printing out students’ names, or display students’ artworks from last year. These small details will make the learners feel more valued and help to build strong relationships throughout the school year. Purchase for yourself a new planner, tote bag, and other necessary items too! 

After the students get acquainted with the new classroom’s decorations and set-up, it’s your turn to make them feel comfortable! As a teacher, you play an important role in supporting and welcoming each child. Put on a big smile, warmly welcome them, and ask them questions about their eventful summer. These small talks not only help to build rapport, but also make them feel like they are in a safe and inclusive environment. Be excited about the upcoming plan for the school year. This will ignite a sense of curiosity in the students, help to create a positive atmosphere from day one. When every child is calmly seated, it’s time to talk about classroom rules! Clear sets of expectations and boundaries are essential for maintaining order and promoting a productive learning environment. Of course, you don’t have to be the sole rule-maker of the classroom! Talk to the students about the guidelines, what they think of them, discussing the reasons behind each one to help them understand the purpose. Keep the language straight-forward and use a positive tone to go with it. Check out the Good Behaviour Buckets, as these are examples of how you can reward/discipline students’ behaviours in a light-hearted manner. Instruct students on what to do in daily morning meetings, transitions between classes, and various activities throughout the day. Establishing good routines can reduce anxiety and increase focus, allowing students to feel more secure and confident in their learning environment. For the first few lessons of the school year, make sure to incorporate in lots of interactive activities to get your learners involved, and for them to get to know each other.  

Everyone is Welcome Poster Set: These colourful and engaging posters are perfect for classrooms! Important messages can be referred to as needed, from “Slow down deep breath start again” to “We are all in this together, be kind” and more, these encouraging phrases will inspire. This set consists of 7 posters. 

Colour Harmony Calendar: Celebrate special days in colourful style! Includes calendar, 12-month labels, 7 days of the week labels, 4 seasons labels, season/weather chart, 33 date markers, 44 holidays/special day markers, Today/Tomorrow/Yesterday chart, weather graph and 2 arrows.  

A few great classrooms decorations for the classrooms.

Sparkle Stickers Variety Pack: Shiny stickers for rewards or decoration. Include Bots and Bolts, Fish Pirates and Crew, Flittering Fairies, Gnome Sweet Gnome, Mermaids and Friends, Sparkly Space Stuff, Sparkly Unicorns. 77 designs. 

Good Behaviour Buckets: Students learn how to fill their buckets with kindness, attentiveness, and other positive social-emotional skills with these Good Behavior Buckets. Positive behaviors land in the sunny orange bucket, while negative behaviors land in the stormy purple bucket.    

Fun items to use for reward/discipline students.

  1.  A Positive Learning Experience 

Each student has their own pace of learning, with different needs and abilities. Differentiate your instruction to cater to these diverse needs. You can start modifying your daily plans, starting with the content you show students! Instead of teaching the lesson in a fixed/designated way, educators can offer students with different options of how they would like to study this to meet the objective. Some students love to have lots of visual or auditory aids, while others like hands-on experience. Group work is also extremely valuable. Kids can learn so well from each other as they use the same expressions, relatable language that they can understand. Organize plenty of group work sessions, and group students based on their specialties and how well they complement each other. This also applies to the assignments you give students. Grant them options to present their understanding of the lessons, such as letting them write a song, a story, a speech, a presentation, or an art project! These assessments will also give you more information to help you tailor your teaching methods to ensure the kids’ success. 

Taking your time and effort to get to know students as individuals can make you a more effective educator. It is also essential for creating a healthy, and inclusive learning environment. Dedicate your time in a day to get to know your students. Beyond knowing your students’ names, basic personality traits, dig deeper to learn about their interests, strengths, and backgrounds. Show genuine interest in their well-being and celebrate their achievements, both academic and personal. Give them constructive feedback and acknowledge their efforts to boost their self-esteem and motivation. Create a safe and supportive space where students feel comfortable expressing themselves and sharing their thoughts. 

Art Start Kit: A must for every classroom, this kit contains a huge number of unique products for your favourite projects. Perfect for all types of collage or 3D crafts. Store leftover products in the neat storage box to reuse again and again. Includes idea guide. Packaged in a handy plastic storage container. 

Art Time Dough, Assorted, 1.4 kg, Set of 6: Pliable, safe and easy for children to work with, Art Time Dough is great for a variety of modeling projects. Brightly coloured with a pleasant smell, this soft, malleable dough is easy to clean up and can be used repeatedly when stored in its airtight plastic tub. 

Let students present what they learned in different ways, such as an art project!

Human Paper Shapes Kit: An open-ended collection of popular shapes cut from 8 different skin tone papers. These shapes are of terrific value and can be bases for many activities, puppets, portraits, name tags, desk markers, community helpers, story starters, decorations and more! 

Conversation Cubes, Set of 6: Spark discussions on the first day and beyond. Colourful cubes feature 36 engaging questions about student experiences and perspectives, including What are you most proud of? Who is the bravest person you know? Includes activity guide. 

Get closer to your students with these conversation-starters!

  1. Encourage Creativity

Elementary school children are at the age where they love to explore different art forms, work on puzzles/problem-solving issues and enhance their creativity. It is a crucial time to give them opportunities to play and create. Start asking students open-ended questions, encourage them to work together on activities that require communication and problem-solving skills. Integrating arts such as music, paintings, cinema, creative writings into daily lessons can also foster students’ imagination and inspire them to create. Books are great choices as they include a lot of eye-catching visuals and creative stories. As an educator, don’t forget to share your own creative work, and tips on how to be more creative with students. Embracing mistakes and reflecting on oneself is also an important process of creativity! Encourage children to take on challenges, and view failure as a part of a learning process. It will help them to become resilient and more successful in life.  

Inuit Stories Series, Set of 5: Beautifully illustrated legends and stories from Canada’s northern communities. Four books (Fishing with Grandma, The Legend of the Fog, The People of the Sea and Siuluk: The Last Tuniq).  

Eye-catching visuals and great storytelling will help to nourish children’s creativity.

Classpack Tangrams, Set of 30: The tangram is a 7-piece square puzzle. The whole class can practice problem-solving with tangrams in 6 colours: red, blue, yellow, green, orange and purple. Includes teaching notes and a reusable storage container. 

Conflict Resolution Games, Set of 6: A unique set of games that focuses on how to recognize conflict, how to handle it and how to resolve differences in a more positive solution-focused way. Each game and activity are designed to teach children about common conflict situations, how to recognize different emotional triggers, and how to understand and apply different conflict resolution techniques.  

Games to help young learners practice problem-solving skills.

  1. Supplies

For teachers, happiness equals shopping for new supplies. The new pencils’ smell, the shiny, bright colours of new storage bins…just thinking about them excites every teacher’s heart and mind! Jokes aside, colourful stationery is a staple for elementary school children. Fill pencil cases/storage boxes with a flamboyant mixture of pencils, erasers, crayons, colored pencils, and washable markers. Not only do these items spark creativity, but they also stimulate young minds to pick up a pen and start writing or drawing. Small items like sticky notes could also make a huge difference in children’s organization and learning.  

Crayola Coloured Pencils Classpack, Set of 462: The classpack gives students more than enough pencils to go around. 462 thick, pre-sharpened pencils in 14 rich, vivid colours. Convenient packs make them easy to store and use, too. Non-toxic. Includes 12 hand-held sharpeners. 

*Best Buy Washable Markers, Assorted, Set of 200 – Quality Classrooms: Best Buy markers offer great quality multi-purpose markers at superb value. 25 broad tip markers each of 8 colours. Wash most fabrics and skin with soap and water. Includes a reusable case. 

Don’t you just want to pick these freshly sharpen pencils and start drawing out your imagination?

Activity Trays, 12″ x 16″, Assorted Colours, Set of 12: Keep your art and craft table clean with this useful tray. Use it to contain paint and water spills. It can also be used for sorting and counting activities. The lip around the tray ensures that the beads, crayons and supplies don’t roll away. 

Create-a-Space Storage Center: Make a meeting place for creative minds. The Create-a-Space Storage Center brings an easy, convenient way to organize and present everyday “maker” materials in the classroom. This bright and cheerful set includes a 30 cm (12″) circular tray with 8 colourful containers.  

Art Time! 

The new school year is almost here, and early childhood educators have a new opportunity to ignite a lifelong love for learning in children. Shop for new supplies, decorate the classroom, get to know your students are some great activities you can do to create a positive, and inclusive learning environment where your students can grow academically and emotionally. Each child is unique and is a joy to get to know of, and by embracing their strengths, and their differences, you can empower them and help them to get to their full potential. Begin the new school year with enthusiasm and dedication, knowing that your efforts will have a tremendous impact on the lives of your young learners. Oh, and don’t forget to have fun while doing so. Here’s to a fresh start & another successful academic year ahead!                             

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