First Day of School Activities for a PPCD Unit

Set the tone for a strong community in your PPCD class on the first day of school.

A Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) classroom, is a special preschool classroom consisting of typically developing children as well as children with special needs. These classrooms usually comprise students of varying backgrounds and abilities. It is important to develop specific community-building introduction activities for the first day of class.

1 "My Class"

Take a photograph of each student in your class with a digital camera. Print out the picture using a photo printer. Give each student his photo and ask him to introduce himself to the class, one by one. Place each photo on a poster titled, "My Class," and write the name of each student under the picture. Display this in your classroom so that the student can learn the names of his peers.

2 Assign Helpers

Because you will have some children with special needs in your classroom, you need to establish peer-partners from day one. On the first day, assign each student to a peer helper. This person will be a child's go-to person throughout the year. Introduce each child to her partner by handing out various objects. Ask the child to find her assigned partner for the year by searching for her classmate with the same object. Be sure to pair the students in a way that plays on each one's strengths and needs.

3 Meet Your Teacher

It is likely that special education teachers and paraprofessionals will play an integral role in your PPCD classroom throughout the year. Due to this, it is essential to introduce these individuals as part of your classroom community. Ask each of these teachers to prepare a one minute presentation introducing himself to your class. Encourage them to bring a few photos of themselves along with any other items of personal significance.

4 Routine Poster

Establish a routine in your classroom from day one. Bring the class together and talk about class expectations and acceptable versus unacceptable behavior. Write out a class schedule on a large, colorful poster. With each schedule item, discuss what the activity is, how long it will last, and what behavior is expected during that time. Display this in your classroom, and review this daily for the first week of school.

Based in Texas, Lucie Westminster has been a writer and researcher since 1975. Her work has been published in journals such as "Psychological Reports" and "Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior." Westminster's interests include developmental psychology, children, pets and crafting. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Miami University.