Morning routines are the literal and symbolic beginnings to day. We begin the day with our students as a way to connect as a group, to describe the day ahead for everyone’s understanding, fulfil administrative tasks, and to practise our words and our class songs.
I’m sure you have rituals and routines that work well with your class- especially by this time of the year! However, it never hurts to reflect on our practices, right? We have turned to our friends and community of early childhood educators to write some tips for starting your best day ever!
1. SET THE MOOD
As ECE teachers, we can fall into the trap of thinking there is only one BEST way to start the day - everyone listening, everyone behaving, everyone sitting… But just because that is NOT happening today and the mood is a little crazy, it doesn’t mean that you’ve gotten off to a bad start. Try to remember that part of our job is to harness the 'energy' of our students and direct it to positive learning opportunities. Try and picture yourself a little less sergeant major on days like this!
On ‘bad days’ It may be important to adjust our responses and expectations to ensure the whole group isn’t being punished for the behaviour of one or two others. Today may in fact not be the best time to sing the same morning song you’ve been singing all month, it also may not be the best time to practise the days of the week (you will find the best time to do this later today). Instead recognise that SOME days are different, which leads us to our second point….
2. ROUTINE IS IMPORTANT.. BUT SO IS NOVELTY
We’ve heard it time and time again, Kids love routine. Yes, I certainly agree that they do, BUT sometimes it’s important to sprinkle magic, humour and novelty into their day. You can stick to the general program, but try and turn it upside down a little. Use a puppet to take the attendance, have everyone stand up for the things you normally sit down for, ask everyone to close their eyes or wear or soft scarf around their eyes to promote active listening!
Introduce a simple song or a simple game that doesn’t require words. Introduce a ‘provocation’ that you have planned some of your day’s activities around. This provocation is something that you feel would start a journey of learning and discovery for your children, whether it is a pot plant, a ball of wool, a photo or a book.. We have the power to inject wonder, curiosity and opportunities for learning everyday.. No matter the curriculum we are advised to stick to, never forget that!
(from Transition Magician, Kinder Pop)
3. RESEARCH NEW SONGS AND ACTION RHYMES AS OFTEN AS YOU CAN
I know I’m not alone in marvelling at how my students are absolutely CAPTIVATED by a new action/finger rhyme. It’s almost like they know they have to pay attention in order to participate and they SO want to participate! Here are some of my favourite action rhymes:
4. REMIND YOUR STUDENTS WHY YOUR CLASSROOM GROUP IS SPECIAL
Your classroom is unique every year- every single group, every single student is different. And every year the harmony and energy should feel slightly different too. Morning time is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the fun learning that has happened recently (use photos and past tense descriptions), the team work and the projects that are in motion, and the games you observed groups playing during lunch time yesterday. The start of the day is a great way to remind students that special things happen when they work and play together - and that the day ahead is going to be full of shared moments and relies upon cooperation and sharing.
We hope some of these thoughts have resonated with you.. Now go on and begin your best day ever!!
Love, Kinder Pop