Do you screen your incoming kindergarten students before the school year begins? We LOVE to do screening days. It gives us a chance to meet the students and their families and get to know them a little bit. We use the information we gather to make our class lists. We invite our incoming students and their families to our school in the spring (usually in early May). As we have the students do a few tasks, we have the parents fill out an informational form (regarding siblings, allergies, contact information, etc.). While others may use screening days to determine if a child is ready for kindergarten in the fall, this is not our purpose. Our goal is to get as much information as we can in a short, fun-filled time, so that we can build our class lists in such a way to make our students successful. Check out our Five Tips for a Successful Kindergarten Screening Day, and our FREEBIE which includes a screening assessment and screening materials. If you are looking for the complete screening day, check out our new Pirate Kindergarten Screening Day resource.
1. Make It Special
- Send out a cute invitation inviting each student by either mail, email, Remind, Class Dojo, etc..
- Make each student a name sign that he or she can take a picture with and then take it home. If doing your screening virtually, you can take a screenshot of the student. We do this, so we do not forget who the child is when we are working on our class lists.
- Have a cute background to take the picture against.
- If you would like, send the parents the picture digitally.
- Give the students a “thank you” gift for coming (pencil, sticker, Smarties candies, coloring sheet, treat, etc.).
2. Make It a Team Event
- Have your entire team participate, so that you will all get to see each of the students. We are very lucky; our administrator gets each of us a substitute for a full day. This year because of our hybrid schedule, we are having our screening event over two half days.
- Invite your language and speech teacher to join you. That way he or she can listen for any possible speech concerns.
- If possible, have all teachers participating see each student. We did it virtually last spring over Zoom, and we still all met with each student.
- If needed, make sure to have someone who can translate for students and parents.
3. Make It Inviting
- Have a greeter that meets the families, explains the process, shows the families where to wait, hands out and explains any forms, answers questions, and takes the student’s picture with his or her student name sign. We take each student’s picture holding his or her name sign, so that we can match a name to a face when we are making our class lists.
- Have welcome signs on the door and around any areas they will see.
- Have chairs and a comfortable place for parents to wait.
- Provide pencils, clipboards, and waters for parents.
4. Make It Interactive
- Have students draw a picture of themselves and tell you about it.
- Have them write their names.
- Use crayons for students to count or tell colors with.
- Have them cut fun lines.
- Use fun and colorful cards for number and letter identification.
- Have students do fun physical activities (jump two times, turn around one time, stand on your tiptoes, etc.) for the follow the directions tasks.
5. Make It Valuable
- Send families home with information on how they can help their students prepare for kindergarten.
- Send fun optional tasks that families can do over the summer.
- Rather than assessing every skill possible, assess just enough to to inform your class list making.
We hope these tips are helpful for you, and you have a successful screening day. Let us know if you have any questions by commenting below or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would also love to hear how your screening day went if you used the freebie or the Pirate Kindergarten Screening Day resource. Click the pictures or buttons below to download the FREEBIE screening assessment or to check out the Pirate Kindergarten Screening Day resource.