Getting to know you

  • Published on January 6, 2017

The beginning of the year is a great time for getting to know each other. Children will feel comfortable and friendly towards each other in a welcoming classroom environment that values and respects individuals; and in which appreciation for our diversity, as well as our commonality, is nurtured.

When children feel safe to be who they are, they are more accepting of others.

While it is important to establish a welcoming environment at the beginning of the school year, it is equally important to maintain the supportive environment throughout the year. It is not something we do to pretty the room and then forget about it. It is a part of who we are, and comes from a firm belief in the value of each individual, of community, of humanity, and of our world.

Mem Fox’s picture book Whoever You Are is perfect for reading at this time of the year, and begs for repeated readings throughout the year.

“Every day all over Australia, children are laughing and crying, playing and learning, eating and sleeping. They may not look the same or speak the same language, but inside, they are just like you. This story weaves its way across cultures and generations, celebrating the bond that unites us all.”

Bette A. Stevens supports this notion in her blog post Let there be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin with Me. She suggests these strategies for spreading peace throughout the world:

  • Listen to others
  • Get to know them (That means spending time with them)
  • Let them get to know us (talk)
  • Respect differences
  • Look for commonalities
  • Nurture relationships
  • Offer and extend a helping hand
  • Encourage others
  • Enlist the help of others
  • Give input and feedback
  • Keep the conversation going

Our classrooms are a great place to start the peace movement.

Many readilearn resources are designed to welcome children to school on the first day. Resources include a Welcome letter, Welcome sign, Who is here chart, Desk names, Name badges,  Name cards, and an About me worksheet, all with a Busy Bee theme. While these resources, and the free teaching ideas Getting ready for the first day with Busy Bee resources, are all available individually, I have now collected them in one zip folder for easy download Busy Bee- Welcome resources for Day one.

These, and other resources, are also useful in getting to know each other:

Learning about family traditions and celebrations – a unit of work for early childhood   – gathers information about the families of children in the class

The Clever Children – a digital estory that can also be printed and personalised for your class

Yes or No class surveys  help children begin to see ways in which they are alike and in which they differ.

These two new readilearn resources coming soon are also designed to help children get to know each other:

Me and my friends

Getting to know you surveys

Busy Bee – Welcome resources for Day one

About Me – Modelled writing

About me modelled writing

About me booklet

about me booklet

I hope you and your children enjoy using these resources. I’ll see you next week with some suggestions for counting the first 100 days of school. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend.

Thank you for reading.

Happy teaching and learning,



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    These are such fabulous resources. I especially love Mem Fox’s book – brings tears to my eyes! Thanks for sharing

    I can’t read Mem’s book without tearing up. She does such a beautiful job of explaining our connectedness.

    I agree with you completely. Classrooms are one of the best places to start a peace and acceptance movement. The home is another, the earlier the better. I see so much bullying and hate today with adults as well as children. This needs to stop. Everyone needs to work hard and smart to turn things around to reverse this trend. Thanks for this post.

    Hello, Dayne. Thank you for visiting readilearn and leaving such a lovely comment.I agree. Homes are classrooms: they are the places where the peace movement must start. If homes and classrooms are peaceful, the peace should spread effortlessly through society. What a wonderful image! Thank you.

    I love this so much because, yes, it’s important to have a welcoming atmosphere at the beginning of the year but crucial to continue with a supportive environment throughout the year. Lovely!

    Thank you, Sarah. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. And agree! Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.

Please share your thoughts. I love it when you do.

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