The first day of school can be difficult for young children---new faces, new places and new routines. The preschool teacher is responsible to make learning fun while helping the child feel secure in their new surroundings. Celebrate the beginning of a new school year with craft ideas that give children an introduction to the class and a sense of belonging.

Proud Preschooler

Before the first class, ask a paint or home decor store to donate paint chip samples, and provide each child with a body-shape and several paint chip strips of various colors. Precut a simple peacock's body from construction paper. The children can glue the strips to the back of the peacock's body as the tail feathers. Invite students to color the peacock and draw eyes with crayons. Teachers can use a black marker to add the child's name along with the phrase "is proud to be in preschool."

Name Recognition

Nothing is more special to preschoolers than their names. This is a fun craft to make and use as a toy to focus on name recognition. Provide each child with a clean, empty water bottle. On a thin sheet of opaque plastic (bought at craft stores) write the child's first and last name using a permanent black marker. Cut this plastic into two pieces---first and last names. Invite the children to place colorful floating items such as plastic or metallic confetti and stars into their bottle along with the two nameplates. Fill the bottle with water. Run a bead of heavy-duty glue along the lid and screw on securely. Daily, children can shake and spin their bottles as toys and learn to recognize their names as the nameplates pop up. Use these at "circle time" and let the children share their names with the other students.

My First Day at Preschool Booklet

Invite the children to make a booklet that emphasize the things they do at preschool. For the cover, make a hand print. Brush tempera paint onto the child's hand and have them place it onto the paper to make a print. Write the child's name, date, and name of school around the hand print. Give them several sheets of paper to draw pictures of things they are doing in class, such as listening to a storybook, singing songs or playing with musical instruments, outdoor play, or building with blocks. Staple or punch holes and tie books together with yarn. While having fun together, this activity provides experiences in creative thinking skills and a nice memento to take home and share "all about my day" with parents.