3 Teacher Tips for Morning Arrival Routines

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Picture it – the school bell rings and immediately students are racing through the door ready to start the day and wanting your full attention. As teachers, we know that routines are so important in an early childhood classroom and a solid morning routine can set the tone for the entire day. Start the school day with a more peaceful, less stressful environment with these simple and effective tips for morning arrival routines!

*For more tips on how to create a positive AND playful learning environment in your classroom, be sure to join us in P.L.A.Y. (Playful Learning All Year)!

Start the school day with a more peaceful, less stressful environment with these simple and effective tips for morning arrival routines!

3 Teacher Tips for Morning Arrival Routines

Going slow at the beginning of the year and taking the time to build a strong foundation of routines will lead to more independent students as the year goes on. Building these routines begins first thing in the morning when the students arrive and continues throughout the day.

Be sure to check out my teacher tips for a calm and effective dismissal routinebut first, here are my favorite tips for implementing an independent morning arrival routine!

Tip #1 – Keep the Arrival Routine the Same

If possible, keep the arrival routine the SAME every day. This helps the students to know exactly what to do even if there is a substitute teacher that day. Your routine may begin with something as simple as finding their name and adding it to a pocket chart when they arrive.

This means the students won’t rely on you for direction first thing, which allows you to talk to parents, answer the phone, or see to anything that needs immediate attention.

Your arrival routine may begin with something as simple as finding their name and adding it to a pocket chart when they arrive.

Tip #2 – Make Morning Activities Open-Ended

For morning work, keep activities open-ended with nothing to technically complete or turn in (for example, no worksheets).

When the morning task is something that needs to be “finished” you then need to teach a second, separate routine for what to do when students are done. Also, some kids may not be done in time or they may need additional assistance to finish. Keep it simple!

My favorite open-ended activity is The Cutting Jar – click HERE for directions and ready-to-go printable cutting strips!

In my class, students begin the day by cutting strips of paper and placing them in our cutting jar.

Tip #3 – Include a “Check-In” Task

When developing an effective morning arrival routine, I recommend including a “check-in” task that is done right away as part of the routine. This could simply be having students write their name on a white board.

Check-in tasks can be easy while still working on important skills in a built-in, low-prep way as the students arrive.

Students immediately check in and write their names on a white board when they arrive.

My Favorite Arrival Routine:

  • Check in on a pocket chart
  • Backpacks away
  • Cutting Jar
  • Play!

I have found that even a small amount of morning play encourages high engagement and also allows time for me to check in with the families, buses, individuals, and more.

This is also quality time for students to develop important social skills!

I have found that even a small amount of morning play encourages high engagement and also allows time for me to check in with the families, buses, individuals, and more.

When it is time to begin our day we clean up and meet at the carpet for Circle Time!

BONUS Good Morning Song!

Songs are powerful AND effective! They are especially fun to use during Circle Time as a way to start the day and welcome your kiddos!

That’s why we want to share with you one of our favorite songs for morning arrival. This song is sung to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell” and it even has fun actions for your students to do. Of course, you could add your own actions too!



Check out the video to hear our good morning song in action. You will definitely want to try it with your kiddos!



One, two, three.

Clap your hands with me.

I’m so glad you’re here today!

Clap your hands with me.

One, two, three.

Pat your knees with me.

I’m so glad you’re here today!

Pat your knees with me.

Want to improve classroom management and increase student engagement with music and movement?

Don’t miss out – sign up today for The PLAYlist! With 3 new songs every month designed specifically for Pre-K, TK, & Kindergarten PLUS corresponding games and activities, this resource is quickly going to become your favorite tool in your teacher toolbox!

Join the PLAYlist and get 3 new songs every month plus corresponding games and activities.

Join The PLAYlist and spend less time trying to capture student attention and more time being engaged in active learning!

The Kindergarten Connection
3 Teacher Tips for Morning Arrival Routines
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2 Comments

  1. I would like more information about the structure of your day. How you are incorporating instruction, common core standards, developmental continuum and play. When students leave at the end of the year what are the majority able to do? Thanks

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