How To's for 1St Time Kindergarten Mom

Updated on August 05, 2011
A.C. asks from Sterling Heights, MI
23 answers

My daughter is starting kindergarten (full day) for the first time and I have a lot of questions. I know it is different from school to school, but my daughter's school has posted nothing on their website, and they say they MIGHT or MIGHT NOT have a kindergarten open house before school begins, just keep checking the website. So, how am I supposed to know/can any of you tell me...

When the heck are they going to send out/post the school supply list?

Do I need to send a snack for my daughter for mid-morning? (I know a lot of schools, but not all schools do this.)

Do they take naps in full-day kindergarten? (I hope not.)

I know school starts at 9:00 a.m., but what time are they really supposed to arrive?

I know from experience as a substitute teacher that schools are Nazis about their drop-off/ pick-up routines. How the heck am I supposed to know what that routine is? I’m not going to drop my daughter off on the sidewalk for her first day, but I also know parents have to have visitors’ passes to go past the office to the classroom. I also know they aren’t going to want to give me a visitors’ pass every morning for me to walk my daughter to her classroom, but I don’t feel comfortable dumping her off inside the front door and saying, “See ya. Hope you don’t get lost.”

I’ve waited patiently all summer to see if the school would somehow provide answers to these questions, but it’s August already. Do they wait until the week before school to send out info.? (And, yes, I have registered her; and she is not riding the bus, so that part is taken care of.)

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Savannah on

My niece just finished Kinder in an all day program. They had "nap time" but it was only about 15 min and was more of a time to recoup (most kids took naps prior to starting K) and by the end of the year, naps were obsolete.



answers from Cleveland on

arg my huge response was deleted, by DD. If i have time later i'll come back, easy answer is wait 2 weeks before school then call the secretary. it will be fine.

More Answers


answers from San Francisco on

The website probably hasn't been updated because the staff doesn't usually return until about a week or two before school starts. You can check the district website to see what day they will be back on campus to answer phone calls.
I know you're getting anxious, but just relax, you'll get all the info you even if it's closer to the first day than you would like :)
As far as supplies go, our school always provided a list directly from the teacher. That was handed out when classroom assignments were announced, the day before school starts (and no, the kids weren't expected to have all their supplies on the first day.)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

The first few days they will let you walk your kid to class then after that most schools have a 4th or 5th grader with each teachers name and sign ie a flower for Mrs X, a teddy for Mr Y, so the kids line up by that person and go to class so no issues with getting lost. I would arrive no earlier than 10 mins before school starts or else you will be hanging around waiting.
Not sure about naps - I think the full day kids at our school had quiet time till Christmas and as for snacks, each kid took what they wanted to eat but the school has a no peanut rule which they will tell you about.
The first day of K at our school in Avondale - Auburn Hills they have a sniffles and smiles day - the parents get to take in the kids to class, meet the teachers and other kids and show where to put backpacks etc. They basically sit in for the first hour and parents get a letter a couple of weeks before school starts about this and supply lists. I imagine Sterling Heights would be pretty similar so i would expect info to arrive around August 20th....
Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

First of all DON"T let your daughter see how stressed you are about her starting K!! She wont get that you are feeling clueless about routines and supplies she will only sense that your are Very Worried about kindergarten therefore there must be something to worry about. Most schools send the letters about 10 days before school starts. Letters will come telling you what time and what is the drop off routine. A letter will come from your child's specific teacher When the class lists are in stone.(a lot of people sign up their kids at the last minute, many families move during the summer, schools try to balance the classrooms carefully and kids with special needs may be grouped together or carefully separated) typically there are not a lot of supplies on the list for K. If you can't wait till the list comes out because you are going away buy a box of crayons, a box of tissues and a container of sanitizing wipes to clean the tables. Her backpack needs to be big enough to hold a folder and a lunch box. Most schools have teacher assistants standing by the curb so you actually can drop off your child at the curb and have an adult walk her to the school. Inside the school another staff member will walk her to her classroom or a group meeting area. (after the first day!) If school starts at 9:00 you only have to get her there by 8:57 but the school will accept kids earlier simply to help working parents get to work and because the bus kids will start arriving about 8:45. Concentrate on reading fun books to your daughter like Miss Bindergarten gets ready for Kindergarten to help her feel ready! show her how to hang a back pack and sweater on a hook.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

When is the first day of school? Not all school employees return end of July. Many only return about two weeks before classes begin. Depends on when that start date is.

We start in less than two weeks. I have a meet the teacher appointment (I've already met her though I've coached her daughter), we have a school supply list provided by them. Target, Walmart also provide our district (and the next district over) list in the general shopping area.

I think you're freaking out. Check your registration packet...our district provides drop of routines, pick/drop off times.

You might check with other moms in your neighborhood who have older children. See if they can give you insight into the "how, when, where" may be that they can give you an idea.

I understand your stress, it sounds like you are planner like me. I am need to know all the details. Which is why I LOVE our school district. They send out emails, sometimes daily to keep parents in the loop. They even post this same things on their FB page. Check out and see if they have these options.

Remember to BREATH...I was so worried about dropping off our daughter and just letting her walk in the school (after the first day) gets easier!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

arg my huge response was deleted, by DD. If i have time later i'll come back, easy answer is wait 2 weeks before school then call the secretary. it will be fine.



answers from Charleston on

I think it's time you call the school and ask for a conference with the principal if there has been no communication about your questions. (And by the way - your questions are all legit and should be answered by now!)

My daughter's school updates their website around the 1st of August (we start back on the 16th), but we also get a letter from the school explaining policies, car lines, buses, snacks, etc... at the end of July. When my daughter was in kindergarten (full day), we had to bring in a monthly snack for the class. As for naps, they had "rest" time on their mats for about 30 minutes. If they slept, that was fine, if they didn't that was ok too as long as they were quiet and reading. Her school also allows parents of kindergartners to walk them into the school and to their classrooms the first 2 weeks of school. After that, they strongly advocate dropping them off at the front door and letting them find their way to learn how to be self proficient. (and for parents to learn to cut the strings a little) :)

I would definitely be calling the school and asking for some assistance to finding out the answers. I'm sure by now they have all the information. Good luck!



answers from Oklahoma City on

Don't you have the school phone number? Most supply lists are at walmart in the middle of the isle you enter from the doors or close to the school supply area.

Most schools will have rest time every day until after Christmas break. They start weaning the kids off naps at this time. If the kids don't sleep they must be quiet and have rest time so the others in the class can sleep.

Only the school can tell you anything about their routine. Most parents take their kids in, some eat breakfast each morning at school and their parents want to make sure they go down and eat. They do not give out visitors passes especially when the school has morning assembly. About half the parents that don't work go every morning to help their kids get breakfast then attend the morning assembly with them. The school is the only one that can let you know any more of their specifics.


answers from Huntsville on

When does your school start? It is different all over the country!

Ours starts August 8. We will be starting Kindergarten too! Our supply list was posted online, and we are having an open house tonight. I am supposed to find out who her teacher is at the open house.

Depending on when your school is starting, it may be too early & they don't have all the info organized yet. I would call the school with your questions, and perhaps ask if there is a time you could stop by & talk face-to-face with someone, especially if they are not going to have an open house.

I am anxious to find out all the details too! Good luck!



answers from Cleveland on

First off - even if they do not have an open house, the staff will be there at least a few days to a week before school starts & some of the questions you have can be asked of the ladies in the front office either by calling the school or stopping in. They should be able to tell you about drop-off/pick-up times & routines. Also, most schools let you walk your kids to class the first week of school, but ask that you don't after that since school is to help them become more independant. Plus, if they don't have open house - I always want to meet the teacher on the first day.

I do take my kids to school everyday... either by car pool or walking (we live close enough to choose), but I usually don't go in with them past the first couple of days. That being said I don't drive off or walk away till after I see them walk into the school & know they are safe in the building.

As for school supplies - get the typical ones... backpack (most schools say no wheels), boxes of 24 crayons, pencils, large pink erasers, a pencil box, glue sticks/bottles of glue (our school uses sticks), sissors, pocket folder, box of tissues and bottle of hand sanitizer. If you need something else, the teacher will send home shortly after school starts.

Snacks - if you want to send in one for the first few days for you daughter till you find out how everything works, just put it in her backpack. If she is able to eat it, then it will be there. Our school, the teachers send home a list/calander with the kids names on it as to their snack day and you take in a snack for the whole class about once a month.

Relax and enjoy your daughter's mile stone... the first week is going to be hard enough on you both. Don't stress about it now, have fun with your daughter getting ready for school to start and enjoy the last month before school starts.


answers from Lansing on

Last year, we didn't even know what Kindergarten class my daughter was going to be in or the school supply list until the Friday before class started on Tuesday. And this Friday was right before Labor day weekend. THEN, orientation was the first day of school, so we had to wait to hear about the process on the first day of school

I would say if you don't hear by a week or two before school starts go down to the office or call maybe you can meet with the teacher and get your questions answered. It does stink waiting to hear.



answers from Savannah on

My niece just finished Kinder in an all day program. They had "nap time" but it was only about 15 min and was more of a time to recoup (most kids took naps prior to starting K) and by the end of the year, naps were obsolete.



answers from Detroit on

I feel your pain. I went through this last year with my daughter. Her school didn't require a supply list for Kindergarten, they had a new principal and new K teacher who both started two weeks before school started. Although I had seen where my daughter's class was, I was not permitted in and, on the first day of school, parents were NOT allowed into the school with their child. Many of the first time parents were ticked off especially as we were providing the learning curve for hte new principal and K teacher. Many mistakes were made and we all learned from it (I learned to let go a little) :-)

Anyhoo, everything worked out, it usually does. I know this is probably more nerve wracking for you than it is your daughter. Take a deep breath, hang in there, you are not a mind reader and, for some reason, they are not going to let you be fully prepared for that first day of school. You will be fine and, more importantly, so will your daughter.



answers from Spokane on

We live across the street from the school, and there are already people (principal included) milling around the school getting ready for Sept. Drive to the school and just grab the first person you see, tell them you are a first time Kinder mom and you have some questions, I'm sure they will point you to the right person.
I just stopped at the school the other day and the principal (in his Tshirt and flip flops :)) was so happy to find me a copy of the supply list since my computer wasn't cooperating with me in printing one.

Also, at our school the answers to your questions would be:
Paperwork with supply list and teacher assignment show up about two weeks before the start of school

Each parent is responsible for bringing in one box of "safe" crackers each year, if you do not want your child eating a particular snack then you are responsible for providing their snack every day.

No, our full day Kinder does not nap.

School starts here at 8:20 and they want all children lined up outside by 8:15.

My son doesn't do well with the morning chaos of all 24 kids hanging up backpacks and coats and lining up to order their lunch (this lead to a total meltdown with crying and clinging, even late into the school year when I tried again), so I walked him into his classroom (no visitors pass needed because school hadn't technically started yet), and stayed with him while he did his routine. Then the teacher would go outside to walk the rest of the children in while my son got settled at his table. When the teacher arrived back at the classroom, I left. They SHOULD give you a visitors pass every day if that's what you want to do, this is your child and you can do what you need to do to get your child's schooling off on the right foot.

Good luck and enjoy your first year of school! ;)



answers from Lincoln on

I haven't read the other posts, but my son's school is a Title 1 school which means that more than 50% of kiddos are at poverty rate. They don't require the kiddos bring school supplies but do ask for kleenex and sanitizer.

They only did an afternoon snack and maybe some of this reflects the title 1 status, but they did not ask parents to provide it. They had either a fruit or veggies.

And in my son's all day Kindergarten I am very grateful they did not nap. I think napping in K is becoming a thing of the past b/c now with all the state standards and such napping is a waste of learning time.

I hope you get the answers to your questions!



answers from San Francisco on

You can get the answers to your questions by calling the school and going in for a tour. I too am a kindergarten mommy and I took a tour, met the teachers and asked them questions. Did your child go in for their interview with the teacher???Not sure how your school works, but we interviewed with the kindergarten teachers to see who was a good fit with who and the kindergarten readiness. I highly suggest going into the school office and asking them.


answers from Tampa on

Maybe check the school's website? I did that before my kids started school - check their website, check their PTA website. If you can access the previous school news letters, I would glance over those too, just to see if anything may be there...

Up until this last school year - the school supply list didn't come out until like this month, August. And even then, after school started, the needed list changed on the first day of school. Most of our school's school supply for kindergarten is community used items. Our open house isn't until the DAY before the first day of school! This year is the first time the school has sent home the supply list at the end of the last school term. We don't even know who their teacher is until Open House (again, day before school starts)

For my daughter kindgerten, they ask to bring a towel for resting on the rug, my son had the mat. They let them rest for I think maybe half a hour, no real naps. And it was only for the first half of the school year, then they brought home their towels.

Hope this helps! Take care



answers from Pittsburgh on

Schools are notorious for last minute info. Expect this to continue!
Our school sends out the room assignments/bus stop times on or after Aug 15th!
Supplies--for now get pencils, 8 pack Crayolas and a small pencil sharpener, put in a pencil box in her back pack for the first day.
Check the website for drop off times, etc.
I'm sure they will have info out to you before school starts.
You just kind of have to roll with it. It's only the beginning.
Make sure to take a picture on the first day--somewhere that you can duplicate from year to year--it's fun!
Good luck. El school moms need nerves of steel...


answers from St. Louis on

I would call the school and ask them the routine. With all of my kids so far K teachers would wait at the door for the entire class to arrive then they would walk down as a class to their room after the bigger kids were in the their room. If you dropped your child off after 8:20 you had to get a vistor's pass and take the child to the room. Your child was also tardy as well if you had to get a visitor's pass to take them to class.



answers from Detroit on

They may not send out a school supply list OR they may not expect her to take in too much. Some teachers prefer to have the things the kids will need in class already there so there isn't confusion, things getting lost/mixed-up/stolen etc. I would get some general supplies since she will probably need them at home AND they are fun to buy. I usually get the general things like crayons, fun pencils, scissors, a ruler ( and last year a compass because my son said he NEEDED it to help him make better circles LOL) and label them with his name. I also send in kleenex throughout the year as well as Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer.

The teacher may need to wait to check about allergies for snacks. In Kindergarten the teacher just asked parents to send in a general snack once a month (pretzels, crackers, things like that) and some dixie type cups for water or $3 so she could go buy them for the class.

There was no "nap time", but some schools do "quiet time" and let the kids watch a short movie or educational video after lunch time. I am sure that depends on the school or teacher though.

I assume that most schools expect that Kindergarten parents will walk the kids down the first few days. After that most schools have them line up by class or grade. In my son's school they all meet in the gym and line up by class and the teacher comes to get them and walk them down. My hubby usually waits in the gym with my son until the teacher comes.

Teachers should be reporting the last week in August in most schools, so you could stop in to see the teacher. Just know that she may not be available if she is in meetings. But you could always leave a message and ask her that way what she would like you to send to class.

Good luck! How exciting for your daughter!!! Enjoy!!!



answers from Gainesville on

Why get so frustrated? Pick up the phone and call the school! Not every school district is tech savvy and keeps an up to date website. Ask when orientation for Kinder is and where do you get the supply list. When you go to orientation, you can get all your questions answered.

Our local wal-marts and targets have a set up right as you walk in with supply lists for the local elementary schools.



answers from Dallas on

I would call the school or the district and see if there is a link missing on the website. I didn't find the school supply list on our school page (although, apparently I just missed it), I found it on the district website. I would also ask if there will be some sort of parent orientation for kindergartners. Our school had one in may and will have another after school starts. The orientation was different than open house.

Check on the registration. I registered my kiddo in May and thought we were done. Then I had to go yesterday to verify our residency and fill out a second round of forms online. NOW we are apparently registered. Our kindergarten does not take naps. I am not sure about snack (I'll ask on meet the teacher night). Yesterday I asked a teacher what time the kids should get there, she said that the school opened it's doors to kids ten minutes before class time, otherwise kids need to wait in the gym. So we plan on arriving then. And I think the first few days, especially with kindergartners parents will be encouraged and expected to walk their kids to class. In fact our school is having a social for parents after drop off called Cheers and Tears. As far as the routine with driving, I plan on winging it. The first week is for everyone to figure things out and work out the kinks. I KNOW I won't be the only clueless wonder out there. Good luck!



answers from Tallahassee on

My daughter is starting kindergarten this year too so I can completely understand where you are coming from. My daughter's school had a kindergarten orientation in May and they went over A LOT of stuff there. I was busy filling out paperwork almost the whole time so I barely retained any info. We were also able to take a tour of the kindergarten classrooms and visit the playground briefly. They are having another orientation on the Thursday before school begins where we will actually get to meet her teacher and see which classroom she will be in and then they will be having an open house a couple weeks into school. I have already called the registrar a few times to ask questions and have no qualms about doing so again if I need too. Maybe you could try calling the registrar at your daughter's school with a list of specific questions. Also, I know that all of our local Walmart stores have school supply lists for all of our schools and grades. Honestly, I'm also really nervous about drop off and pick up, especially drop off, but I figure it will work itself out within the first week or two. I will definitely be parking and walking her to her classroom on her first day of school and I'm sure they expect that with the kindergarteners. As far as naps go, they get to lay down on mats (on our school supply list) for 30 minutes a day. It's not really long enough to take a nap but it will allow them some quiet time to rest and recharge.

I suggest you try going on your local MomsLikeMe site (just google "Detroit Momslikeme"). You can ask questions and local moms can give you better advice and may even have specific info on your daughter's school. You may even make some friends. You can click on the "Discussions" tab and then "Education" and then "Elementary." I would suggest looking to see if anyone has posted any info before you ask questions.

Good luck! :)


answers from Las Vegas on

I would call the school and first talk with the clerks and secretary. You should have received that information already. Maybe, for some reason, your address could be in the computer wrong...who knows. If they can't provide answers for you then I would request to talk to the principal. I know at our school Kindergarten is the last list (which teacher and which students we will have in our rooms) because so many parents register late and in the summer. We also are very transient and full day is a paid tuition based (many parents register and then change their mind). We held a Kindergarten Roundup in April and passed out lot's of transitioning skills that should be mastered before August, supply lists, and just general information.
I think the best thing you can do is follow through with a phone call to the school. Stay calm and be nice to the ladies in the front office. They work very hard and know who the nice folks are and who are the difficult parents. They are your first line of communication at your child's school...get to know them by first name basis before the end of the year. :)

Next question: What Do I Do to Prepare for Full Day Kindergarden?