Get to Know Your New Students with Camp Kindergarten


Whether you call it camp kindergarten, roundup, boot camp, or registration, the process of welcoming your incoming students is an important one.  You can learn a lot about your new kindergarteners before the school year even starts!  In this post, I’m going to share fun ways that camp kindergarten can help you get to know your incoming students.

Camp Kindergarten: Get To Know Your New Kindergarten Students

What is Camp Kindergarten?

Camp kindergarten is an opportunity to welcome incoming students to your classroom for registration.  While students and their families are there, they can participate in short activities while you gather any assessment information that you need.  This is also a great opportunity for parents to get any information they need, like bus routes, school hours, food service information, and more.

Two Camp Kindergarten hats

The main reason that camp kindergarten is so helpful is that you can get to know your incoming students in many different ways.  This really makes your first week of school go more smoothly!  

What You Can Learn About Students at Camp Kindergarten

Here are just a few of the things that you can learn about your incoming students from holding your own camp kindergarten.

1. Student Names

You can get a head start on putting faces to names during camp kindergarten!  As teachers, we know how important it is to learn student names as early as possible in the school year.  Classroom management is all about relationships, and the first step in building those relationships with students is learning their names!

Two name writing activities for camp kindergarten

You can also learn about your students’ familiarity with their own names.  For example, you could have students look at the bulletin board and find the bear with their name on it, helping them if needed.  A name-writing activity can also tell you a lot about your incoming students!  

2. School Skills

Camp kindergarten can also provide insights into what school skills your students already have.  I have always liked to set up the camp kindergarten activities as stations.  This is a great way to gauge how long students can attend to particular tasks.  Plus, it also helps you see if you will have students that need extra support when it’s time to transition to a different activity.  

You can even do a storytime station to help you get to know your students.  It tells you a lot about whether or not your incoming kinders can keep their hands to themselves, stay seated at the carpet, and so on.  These insights will come in handy as you plan your activities for the first few days of school!

3. Familiarity with School Tools

Speaking of planning activities for the first days of school, it’s important to know how familiar your students are with school tools.  Can they hold a pencil?  Can they safely use scissors?  Do they try to color within the lines? Are they able to trace?

Three camping theme school tool activities

You can incorporate simple school tool activities into your camp kindergarten stations.  This gives you a chance to see their skill level in a small-group or one-on-one setting.  You’ll be able to identify which students will need more support to safely handle school tools when the school year starts.

4. Following Directions

Craft projects can tell you a lot about your incoming kindergarteners!  They give you another opportunity to see your students’ fine motor skills in action.  But that’s not all!  Crafts can provide a lot of insight into how well your incoming students can follow step-by-step directions. You can even pre-cut most of the elements of the craft so the students just need to focus on the assembly directions.

Four crafts for camp kindergarten

Having a general baseline of how well your students can follow directions is so helpful! You’ll be able to ensure that you have the support in place to ensure that all of your students are successful. 

5. Readiness Skills

Learning about your students’ readiness skills is one of the main goals of camp kindergarten.  This is essential for planning instruction, grouping students, and preparing support.  You can informally gather a lot of information about students as you watch them participate in themed learning activities.  For example, at a station with bear counters, students can complete simple patterns and also demonstrate one-to-one correspondence.

A bin with counting bears and task cards

Camp kindergarten is also a great time to administer a kindergarten readiness screener.  Since students are already circulating to different stations, you can have one station be a simple readiness assessment. I have written an entire post with tips to make your kindergarten screening run smoothly!

More Tips for Camp Kindergarten

Here is a video with even more tips for setting up camp kindergarten.  I share my favorite read aloud books, printable resources, and more.  If you like the video format for teaching tips, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Camp Kindergarten Printables

Are you planning your own kindergarten registration event? You’ll definitely want to check out these low-prep printables!  This resource was designed to provide (nearly) everything you need to plan a successful camp kindergarten event.  Simply print, then add a few manipulatives and supplies! This adorable outdoors theme is perfect for camp kindergarten, complete with bears, s’mores, campfires, and more!

These printables are also very versatile.  You can use the activities as stations for a one-day camp kindergarten event, as I mentioned above.  On the other hand, these activities and stations are also perfect for a kindergarten boot camp or jumpstart program.  You can have a camping theme for the week and spread out these activities over the course of several days. You might also use some of the activities for kindergarten roundup and save others for the first week of school. 

Camp Kindergarten Low Prep Printables and Activities

Would you like to take a closer look at all of the activities and printables included in this resource? You can find it in the Teaching Exceptional Kinders shop or on TPT.

Save These Tips for Camp Kindergarten

Be sure to save this post if you’d like to come back to it later!  Just add the pin below to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest.  You’ll be able to quickly find these camp kindergarten activities and tips when you’re planning your own registration event.

Camp Kindergarten: A Fun Way to Get to Know Your Incoming Students


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