What Do I Do to Prepare for Full Day Kindergarden?

Updated on July 27, 2011
J.M. asks from Melrose, MA
13 answers

My oldest is going, so I have no clue. There haven't been any orientations or anything. I think there will be a visit with the teacher the week before but no practice bus ride. She is ready and excited and I think she will be fine. I just mean what do I need to buy.....lunchbox, back pack, new clothes? It is a public school. Her pre-k didn't allow crocs or flip flops, but it will still be hot in Sept so I assume sandals is good. I am trying to meet a few kids in the class this summer but no luck so far. any advice is welcomed. Thanks!

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answers from Dover on

Each school has a different supply list. Some list vary only by grades while others vary by grade. I would ask the school when/where you can get the list...some post on-line, others mail them, some are available at local stores.

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answers from Denver on

Her school should have a class supply list available at their website and in our area places like Staples and Target even have those lists on hand in the school supply area. I would say no sandals at school as that is the policy at both of my kids schools for the safety of their feet on the playground. Also if your daughter has shoes that tie she should know how to tie them herself or not wear them to school and wear a velcro pair instead. This was an undderstandable pet peeve of my son's teacher..

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answers from Kansas City on

Also, prepare yourself for what happened to me...

Last fall daughter was so excited about school and we met her teacher...so excited for her.

1st day of school...all the parents are in the classroom taking pictures, saying their goodbyes and ours says "SHOOO, you can go to work now. I'm all good!"...

I know it's a good thing and I was so proud of her for being so independent...but I was shocked at how truly ready she was.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Our Walmarts and Targets have the school district supply lists right by the supplies they are selling.

Good luck!

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answers from New York on

as someone said a backpack big enough for her lunch box and a folder and a snack. clothes that are comfy for playing in. Many school ask for donations of kleenex and sanitizing wipes to clean the tables so you could buy them and if they're not needed keep em for yourself. Many schools do not ask kindergartners to get anything like notebooks etc Our Staples has the supply list for the surrounding schools.
Can you go to the school and play on the playground? that could make her feel more at home this fall.



answers from St. Louis on

our school district sends out a packet the month before school starts. Contact the office & ask if they have one for you....


answers from Boston on

You should be getting info by mid August if not sooner.

Flip flops are a bad idea even if the school doesn't ban them. Kids can't run around in them. I wouldn't buy new clothes - kids will be dealing with crayons and paints as well as going outside for recess. Just comfortable clothes. They will probably have you provide a change of clothes to keep in the child's cubby - most schools do - in case of a paint disaster or a potty accident (happens to toilet-trained kids all the time - don't sweat it or discuss it with your child!).

A small backpack for notices and her little projects will be fine. An insulated lunch bag would be good - if it fits in the backpack, she only has to carry one thing. If you buy a popular character backpack, tie a piece of colored yarn on it so she can tell it's hers - just in case another kid has one like it. Most of the time the "experts" tell you not to get a backpack with your child's name on it (too easy for some stranger to call the child by name), but initials are okay. Our school system doesn't let kids hang all kinds of key chains or toys from the outside of the backpack - they get caught on things.

Don't go buying a lot of school supplies until you get a list from the school.

Don't let her take her own toys to school - it creates problems with sharing and keeping track of who owns what. The teacher has better things to do than keep track of 20 kids and their possessions.

I'm sure there will be a classroom orientation - not just "meet the teacher" but look around the room. Try to be patient and wait to be notified - schools get a zillion calls from incoming student families and they are surely planning something for everyone to get oriented. She'll meet a few kids there.

Often there is a bus monitor for the first few days, but if not, your daughter will follow the lead of the other kids and just sit in her seat. At orientation they will tell you how things work when they get off the bus. Our school system gives every kindergartner a name tag to put on their backpack that identifies them by classroom - usually different classes are different colors so the teachers can meet the buses and collect all the kids. The tag also has the number of the bus on it so that, at dismissal, kids are directed to the correct bus. She probably already knows some kids on the bus since you are in the same neighborhood.

Try not to worry - you are anticipating so much and it's great that you and your daughter are excited. Meantime, buy nothing but a backpack and a lunch box until you get the list!


answers from Springfield on

I am the registrar for a school district in Western MA so I answer these questions daily!

Call the school and speak with the school secretary or principal, but be aware that many schools have little or no staff at the schools. Typically staff is in place only a week or so before school begins. You could also call the District/Central Office or look on their website. Most schools have an orientation the first day of school where the parents come with the child to school to meet with the teacher and play in the classroom. Many schools allow parents to ride the bus the first day.

General guidelines for clothing - appropriate and comfortable, no flip flips, high heels, and most don't allow spaghetti straps. Shorts are ok. A small backpack is a great idea and generally you will not need to buy any school supplies - though the teachers may send home a note the first week or so looking for shared supplies like tissues, hand sanitizer, etc.

Label EVERYTHING your child will bring to school with their name/phone. Also plan to pack-up an extra set of clothes that will be left at school in case of a bathroom (or other) accident (paint, glue, etc.)

Congrats - Having your oldest in kindergarten is a big milestone!



answers from Detroit on

My district supplies crayons, paper, etc - even binders - so we didn't need those. It's probably safe to assume that the kids will have a snack time in addition to lunch, but I have found that different teachers allow different snacks (juice was ok for one, water only for another class). We needed appropriate shoes for gym class. I would try to contact the teacher by phone or e-mail and ask what your daughter needs and if there's going to be an orientation before school starts. I know I was concerned about the lack of communication when my oldest started, but I just needed to be patient as the school did give out the info. It just was a lot closer to the first day of school than I would have liked. I guess it makes sense if you think about how many last minute changes teachers and schools have to deal with.

Make sure any backpack you get has room for winter gear



answers from Phoenix on

DD starts on the 15th & I haven't heard anything yet, either. The administration office has been closed for most of summer & I think they are returning next week. There will be a meet & greet/orientation & from what I understand, the teacher we requested will be giving us a call before school starts. I really want the supply list, so I can get shopping before it gets crazy out there. Some schools here start next Monday...



answers from Honolulu on

The school, should have given you a list of 'supplies' the child will need for the classroom.
If you don't know what to do or get, CALL the school.
Ask them for example, if Sandals are okay or allowed?

Of course, you get your child a backpack and lunch box for if she will take home-lunch.

You can tell the school, you want to see the campus or have someone show you around.

Of course, if her clothes/shoes are outgrown, she will need school clothes and shoes and jackets, and underwear and anything else that is essential.

And you will need to LABEL everything, or it will get lost.
With a Sharpie pen, for example.

Bus rides?
I don't know about that.
I drive my kids to school.


answers from Washington DC on

I'm in the same boat with my daughter. She starts school in less than three weeks and I haven't received ANY info from the school as of yet. I don't know if she even has a spot at the school as they run full. They told me back in December when I registered her that they would send me a packet about a month before school starts so for the past week I kept checking and checking and checking the mail and nothing. The school was closed for the summer so I couldn't even call to find out what was going on! Yesterday was the first day that the school office opened up so I called yesterday and spoke to the principal (he happened to answer the phone, I didn't request to speak to him) anyway he said the holdup was do to the budget problems. He expects to get the packes out this week or maybe next weeek so that puts us right down to the wire!

I went ahead and did our back-to-school shopping because I cannot wait until one week before school to try and do everything. I'm a FT working mom and would be too frantic. So we bought her clothing, school supplies (which will default to homework supplies if they're not needed for school, if needed for school we'll just pick up some more supplies to do homework with as we have a little bit of stuff....1/2 bottle of glue, etc. to get us through a week or two for homework use).

We're having to wean it too & I'm so stressed out =( My point is you're not alone. Call the school office and see if you can find anything out.

Edited: Sorry forgot to answer the questions. Yes, she'll need a lunch box if taking her lunch + backpack (usually they need to be big enough to hold a folder) + clothes if needed. I don't know about whether or not sandals will be allowed, in our district they are if they have the straps in the back. There should be some type of orientation or meet the teacher, at least there was when my oldest started K, but I am like you and not being informed of any scheduled orientations this year. I don't know about the bus, we never used it.



answers from Boston on


I would definitely call the school and see what the policies are...there seemed to be a lot of info here:


Many of the new parent resources are run by the PTA/PTO. I noticed on the Melrose website all the elementary schools are listed at the top and when you go to the specific school, the link to the PTO is on the left. Definitely contact them...I've been on the board at our school for 3 years and have been asked to help out anything from Kindergarten Orientation to locating rentals! Since it's usually made up of parents who 'know the ropes,' I'm sure they'd be happy to help you. If there's no direct contact info on the PTO website, ask your school secretary. They will definitely know.

Our school packets usually don't go out until the middle of August, and that's when our teachers send a list of what is needed. Our school also encourages families to visit the building (it has office hours all summer) to get acquainted with a new environment. I believe for the first couple of days parent volunteers ride the bus to help ensure everyone is comfortable.

Good luck! :)

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