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First Day of School Checklist

  • Immunization form for your Child
  • 1”x1” photo of child for cubby only
  • 1 family photo, to display in the classroom
  • Completed “Blue Card” containing your emergency information
  • Completed security checks for working adult(s)
  • Complete change of clothes for children (to keep at school)
  • Diapering supplies (Explorer class only)

Preventing the Spread of Disease

The Facts on Washing Hands

  • Inadequate hand washing has contributed to many outbreaks of diarrhea among children and adults in early care and educational programs.
  • In settings that implemented a hand washing training program, the incident of diarrhea illnesses has decreased by 50%.
  • One study found that hand washing helped reduce colds when frequent and proper hand washing practices were incorporated into a childcare center’s curriculum.

When to Wash Hands
Children and adults should wash their hands upon arrival and when moving from one classroom to another.  Hands should also be washed BEFORE and AFTER:

  • Eating, handling food, and/or feeding a child.
  • Giving medication.
  • Playing in water that is used by more than one person.

Children and adults should always wash hands AFTER:

  • Diapering (or having a diaper changed).
  • Using the toilet or helping a child use a toilet.
  • Wiping a nose or mouth (own or child’s).
  • Handling any body fluids (vomit, blood, mucus).
  • Sneezing or coughing.
  • Handling pets and other animals.
  • Cleaning or handling the garbage.
  • Clearing away dirty dishes and utensils.
  • Handling uncooked food, especially raw meat and poultry.
  • Playing outdoors.
  • Playing in sandboxes or with play dough.
  • Handling money.

Check for Symptoms of Illness
Perform a health check when the child first arrives at school and observe children throughout the day.  Look, listen, feel and smell for the following possible signs of illness:

  • Child complains of pain or not feeling well
  • Fever
  • Drainage from nose, eyes or ears
  • Severe coughing or sneezing
  • Abnormal stool (white or gray bowel movement, diarrhea, etc.)
  • Activity level, behavior or appearance
  • Unusual odor
  • Sores, swelling or bruises
  • Vomiting
  • Failure to urinate
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Skin rashes, discoloration of the skin, itchy skin or scalp

If the child has any of the symptoms above, then determine the following:

  • Does the child need immediate medical attention (e.g. if having an asthma attack or severe allergic reaction)?
  • Should the child be isolated from the group and sent home or kept at home?
  • Do additional measures need to be taken such as monitoring the child closely during the day, taking extra care when washing hands, etc.?

Preventing Injuries

Safety First
Your #1 priority is to keep children safe while they are in your care.

  • 1. Closely supervise children.
  • 2. Recognize, remove and/or limit potential safety hazards.
  • 3. Administer medication properly.
  • 4. Prepare for emergency situation.

Closely Supervise Children

  • Be alert. Know where children are at all times.
  • Position yourself strategically so that you can see all of the children.
  • Circulate throughout the room.
  • Be close enough to intervene if necessary.
  • Establish clean, simple and positive safety rules. “We walk inside. Running is for outside.” and “Our Toys are for playing.”
  • Remain within range of voice so that you can hear the children and they can hear you.
  • Maintain child/staff ratios at all times.

Recognize, remove and/or limit potential safety hazards
Falls: Children in early care and educational settings are more likely to be injured by a fall than by any other type of injury. Falls are frequently associated with children’s curiosity and development or motor skills, particularly climbing. Children learn to climb up before they learn to climb down. Also, children do not have well-developed depth perception and may not realize how high they have climbed.

Drowning: One inch of water is all it takes for a child to drown. And it doesn’t take long. Two minutes following submersion a child will lose consciousness. Irreversible brain damage occurs after 4-6 minutes. Most drowning happens when a child is left unattended for a moment or the child manages to slip away from the watchful eye of an adult.

Burns: Children of all ages face the risk of burns from several different sources. Scald burns caused by hot liquids or steam are the most common cause of burns to younger children. A child exposed to hot water at 140 degrees F for 3 seconds will sustain a third degree burn, an injury that requires hospitalization and skin grafts. Because of their curiosity and fascination with fire, toddlers and older children are more likely to receive flame burns caused by direct contact with fire. Children receive contact burns when they touch extremely hot objects, electrical burns when they come in contact with electrical current and chemical burns when their skin comes in contact with strong chemicals.

Separation Anxiety

By Terry Breck, Happy Hours PPP and Kathy Kerslate, West Whalley PPP, published in Newsletter of the Council of Parent Participation Preschools in B.C., Oct. 1999.

Separation (and returning) is a process we go through all of our lives. Though often challenging and exciting, this growth toward independence can be difficult and stressful, especially for young children. Parents and teachers working together, showing children that they trust and believe in one another, offer a foundation of support when the world suddenly seems a new and different place.

Some children are more upset by the separation from home than by the new experiences. Other children become anxious about how to cope all at once with new adults, groups of strange children, and unfamiliar surroundings. Still others make the transition to the new world with few hesitations. The following ideas may help.

I’m okay, you’re okay
It is easier to help your child through the adjustment period if you are sure the environment she is entering is a sound and sensitive one. Such confidence will make it easier for you to reassure her that she will be all right. Many children pick up their parents’ uncertainties and anxieties and persist in behavior that will either get them reassurance or cause a change in plans. Introduce your child to the teacher as a friend she trusts and show her the preschool as a place of exploration and enjoyment.

Easing in
It is helpful to plan one or two visits to the preschool with your youngster. If you suspect your child will put up a struggle or find the new experience painful, plan to spend some time with her in the class during the first few days. Ask the teacher to help you decide when it is all right to reduce the time.

Avoid mixed signals
If you react to your child’s hesitation or upset about going to preschool by offering her a reward or a bribe such as promising a special treat for good behavior, you may signal that she has cause to be upset.

Tears are understandable
Reassure your child that it is all right to cry when you miss someone you love. Remind her that you will be reunited every day and that she gradually makes new friends and gets use to things, she will not miss mom and home so painfully. Express sympathy for your child’s feelings, but don’t allow her tears to change your mind about leaving.

But please hold your tears until she’s out of sight
If you are one of those parents who is tempted to cry when the little one disappears into the preschool crowd, hold on until the child is well out of sight and sound. While it is only natural to become upset at separations, a frequent reaction to such crying is irritation and anger with oneself, mainly because of feelings of helplessness in the face of your child’s tearful suffering.

But anger usually makes matters worse and may even set the stage for a power struggle. Remain calm, reassuring and stable, whatever happens. Trust your child to cope. It is usually helpful to make the good-byes short, sweet, warm and firm.

Always tell your child that you will return. Saying, “I will come back later” as you leave and “I came back” when you return, teaches your child that you will not abandon her. Also if someone else, such as Grandma, is picking up the child that day, please remind them of that when you leave. At the end of the day reporting on their own activities may be less important to young children than being reassured that their mother hasn’t forgotten them during their absence and has missed them. Tuck-in at bedtime is a good time to ask your child “What was the best thing about preschool today?”

Model friendship
Greeting the other parents you have met and introducing your child to their child creates a friendly environment. A wonderful way of making your child feel comfortable is inviting another child (and parent) to your home to play. Your child then looks forward to preschool and seeing her new friend.

Books that help
You Go Away by Dorothy Corey is a picture book with different examples of parents leaving and always returning. Who’s Going to Take Care of Me? by Michelle Magorian is a good book to share. Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen tackles the concerns of the first day in school. A good resource for parents is Books to Help Children Cope with Separation.

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