Back to School Tips for Teachers in K-2

Back to School Tips for Teachers in K-2

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Are you Ready for the New School Year?

Welcome to our Back to School guide tailored specifically for educators working with Kindergarten through 2nd grade students. In this guide, you will find a collection of teaching tips and engaging resources to help you lay the foundation for a successful new school year filled with growth, discovery, and joyful learning experiences. With a special focus on integrating climate education into early childhood curriculum, we aim to empower you to ignite a lifelong love for learning and environmental stewardship in your young learners starting from the first day of school. Whether you are a new teacher or an old pro, we hope that you will find these teacher tips useful and empowering! Click on the tips below to learn more.

Create the Learning Space
Prioritize Social & Emotional Learning
Play, Create, & Move
Take Class Outside

Create the Learning Space

Be intentional with your classroom setup. How can the colors, materials, and other sensory elements of your classroom organization encourage learning and environmental awareness? Consider bringing nature indoors through the use of plants, natural materials, and found objects. Designate certain areas of the room for specific activities such as reading, construction play, and calming practice. Utilize bulletin boards as a space to showcase student work and students’ names to encourage a sense of belonging. Different types of music can also be used to separate the day and signal transitions. Planning out your space can be just as important as planning your lessons! Bring nature into your classroom with the following activities, decorations, and other freebies.

Create the Learning Space
Nature Count & Compare
Back to School Bundle
Plant Growth Journal
Create the Learning Space

Prioritize Social & Emotional Learning

In the initial weeks of school, forming bonds with young learners is essential. Begin by building relationships with each student during Morning Meetings, where emotions are as central as academic skills and classroom rules. Encourage students to express their daily hopes and concerns openly. Cultivate an inclusive learning environment that values every individual and emotion, dedicating daily time to emotional regulation, social interactions, and effective communication. Explore the following resources to help strengthen the classroom community and get to know your new students.

Prioritize Social & Emotional Learning
Kids Can Change the World
My Green Space
What Do We Feel? Emotive Art
Prioritize Social & Emotional Learning

Play, Create, and Move

During the beginning of the year, it is especially important for students to play, move, and create freely. Playful activities foster social bonds and build a sense of community. Movement helps students release energy and stay focused, promoting physical health. Creativity sparks imagination and enhances problem-solving skills. Integrating these elements from the first week of school creates a dynamic and enriching educational experience. Explore these games, small group center activities, and art projects to get your students moving, playing, and creating!

Play, Create, and Move
Waggle Dance
Eco Rhythms
Build a Tree Center
Create a Nature Piece

Take Class Outside

Taking learning outdoors provides valuable opportunities for students to engage with their environment in a hands-on way. Whether it's exploring nature, listening to a read-aloud under a tree, or conducting science experiments, outdoor learning fosters curiosity and a deeper connection to the world around them. It encourages physical activity, fresh air, and a break from the confines of the classroom, which can rejuvenate students' focus and enthusiasm for learning. Experience nature with your students through the following teaching ideas for Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade teachers.

Take Class Outside
Colors of Place
My Hearing Spot
Shapes in Nature
Handful of Sounds

Looking for More Free Teaching Tips, Bundles, & Classroom Resources?

K-2 Back to School Bundle

Use these classroom signs, songs, poems, coloring sheets, and writing prompts to get your elementary school students excited about the new school year. There are many printable, downloadable, and customizable worksheets, signs, and labels to get your classroom ready. The grade-level-appropriate activities will ensure your students are excited to learn! Stay in the loop with our latest worksheets & add your name to our email list above!

Featured K-2 Back to School Bundle

Our Educators!
Lesson Plans by Teachers, for Teachers

Click on the profile photos to explore lesson plans written by our team of teacher-creators.

Angelique Hammack Profile
Lisa Greenwood Profile
Elizabeth Ward Profile

Resources from Our Partners

Ready to take the next step in your climate education journey? Check out these amazing lessons, activities, and resources for the back-to-school season from our partners, Children's Environmental Literacy Foundation and Climate Science.

Nature Show & Tell
Coral Reef in a Box
Matching Animals to Continents
Scavenger Hunt

Next Steps

Create a vibrant learning environment where young minds can flourish and discover the wonders of both education and the world around them. Here's to a year filled with growth, joy, and a deeper understanding of our planet! For ELA and Math Resources, don't forget to check out our academic-focused guides for Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade teachers: Free ELA Lesson Plans for Grades K-2 and Free Math Resources for Teachers K-2

📚 K-2 ELA Guide


📖 K-2 Reading List


🧮 K-2 Math Guide


🍎 Classroom Management