As we prepare to go back to school; it’s key to recognise that the jump to a new year can be a tad daunting for many children.
A new teacher, and peer group, with a change of classroom can be a little unsettling. Plus, for the teacher, although getting to know your new class can be difficult at first, you have to get to know them and they need to get to know you.
It’s only natural for children to worry about moving into a new year group so challenge any anxieties with memory postcards. Get your class to reflect on the past year and pick out their highlight of it. This will encourage them to think about the progress they have made throughout the year, filling them with confidence for their new one. On one side, get them to draw a picture of the activity and on the other side, they’ll write about the experience; get them to include feelings, thoughts and opinions.
Alternatively, a good way to tackle any worries is to get them to write a list of what they’re excited about and what they’re worried about. This gives you a good opportunity to address key concerns and emphasise the positives, reassuring them that it’s okay to feel unsure about moving years. You could even turn this into a drama activity by getting the learners to improvise how they’re feeling.
We also have a fantastic Back to School Pack which you can use to help your class settle in to the new year – it has loads of great free resources.
Meeting a new class
A good way to break the ice with your new class is to play some games. Begin with telling the class two facts, one made up about you, and then getting them to guess what they think the made up fact is. This opens up a chance for discussion, where you can open up to them, helping to introduce yourself further, whilst building upon their listening skills. Go around the class and get each learner to do the same with the rest of the class, working out which fact is made up.
Based on that game you could take it one step further by getting the class to draw a picture, writing a letter based on their truths and placing it in a time capsule.
A wish tree is another approach, where you can create a tree wall display and get the learners to hang leaves stating their wishes detailing what they want to achieve throughout the year. This will offer a nice opportunity to not only get to know each learner’s individual aspirations, but it also offers the chance to review the wishes throughout the year to see whether they’re on track to achieve this.