Blogger Abby Johnson

Kindergarten, Here We Come!

Photo by Abby Johnson, NAFCPL

This summer, I decided to do a storytime celebrating the kids who are about to start Kindergarten this fall. We really had fun with the kids and parents really appreciated it, many taking pictures throughout. Our schools go back August 1, so I figured mid-July would be a great time to do it. Our newest library assistant is a former Kindergarten teacher, so  I got some great ideas from her as I planned this program, and then we ran it together.

We used a typical storytime format, but inserted some activities to reinforce some of the skills kids will need for Kindergarten (raising our hands to talk, walking in a line, writing their name, etc.) Here’s what we did:

Welcome: We made die-cut apple nametags and invited the kids to practice writing their names (either alone or with help from a parent). This helped later in the program as we were practicing raising our hands and waiting to be called on.

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello (my old standard)

Storytime Rules: Just like the kids will have rules in their classroom, we went over the rules at storytime. Sit criss-cross applesauce, raise your hand if you’d like to speak, don’t bother your neighbor, etc.

Date: I found this nifty little date song on Kelly’s Kindergarten:

(To the tune of Frere Jaques)
Today is Tuesday (Today is Tuesday)
July 9 (July 9)
2013 (2013)
That’s the date! (That’s the date!)

Calendar: I brought out our big calendar from the office and we counted the days until Kindergarten starts (August 1 for most of our students). Something important to note is that not all the schools start on the same day. I did a little research to make sure we knew when the private and public schools were starting.

Raising Our Hands: I asked the kids to raise their hands and tell me what school they will be going to this year. Um, most of them didn’t actually know the name of their school, but it was still good practice for raising hands, which was the point. I’d maybe pick something different to ask them next time.

Nancy Carlson

Book: Look Out, Kindergarten, Here I Come! by Nancy Carlson. This is a great, basic book about a kid getting ready for and going to his first day of Kindergarten. It goes over all the things kids typically do to get ready (packing a backpack, eating breakfast, etc.) and then shows some basic activities kids do when they get to Kindergarten.

Song (Following Directions): If You’re Wearing Red Today. I used two-part directions with this song, asking kids to stand up and then get in line once I called the color they’re wearing. Before we start this song, I ask kids to look down at their clothes and notice the colors they’re wearing. My storytime partner stood at the door to be the line leader and we got the kids in line pretty quickly.

Walking in a Line: Once we had everyone in our line, we practiced walking quietly around the Children’s Room and down the hall and then back. The kids were super! They were quiet and stayed in line very well. We emphasized that this is something that they’ll be doing a lot once school starts.

Kevin Henkes

Book: Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes. I love this book for addressing the fact that many kids worry about a lot of things (especially the first day of school!). I shortened it a tiny bit, cutting out one of the sections about things Wemberly worries about. 

Song: We practiced another Kindergarten readiness skill: our letters. I passed out the bells and we sang the ABC song together.

Mystery Bag: I brought out our mystery bag with several different letters in it and drew letters out one at a time. As a group, we thought of words that began with each letter. Again, we practiced raising our hands and waiting to be called on.

Closing Song: Do You Know What Time It Is? (my other old standard!)

Photo taken by Abby Johnson, NAFCPL

Take-Home Packet: I found a cute school bus craft on Pinterest (which I simplified a bit) and I also included a handout of 10 Ways to Get Ready for Kindergarten from Countdown to Kindergarten. After our song, I showed parents everything that was in the packet and I gave a little spiel about our beginning readers storytime that we’ll be starting in September.

We put out a display of books about Kindergarten for patrons to check out after the storytime and encouraged everyone to take fliers about our new storytime. Everyone, kids and staff alike, had a blast celebrating our newest crop of Kindergarteners!

And one thing I love about this program is that we can very easily recycle it next summer since we’ll have a whole new batch of kids getting ready to start Kindergarten.

Have you done a back-to-school storytime or a special program for incoming Kindergarteners? What’s been successful for you?

— Abby Johnson, Children’s Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN


  1. KathyK

    Great post, Thanks! The Kindergarten Here I Come program is one of my favorites. I have also used an introductory/name game where each child, standing in a circle, says their name and makes a unique movement. The rest of the circle then repeats the name and the movement. Silly. fun, challenging, pro-social. I really like Miss Bindergarten gets ready for Kindergarten, the book. And I have used the tune, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush using the activities of the morning they go to kindergarten: This is the way we jump out of bed…..brush our teeth…carry our backpack….etc

    1. Abby Johnson

      Oh, great ideas, thanks Kathy! I will definitely keep those in mind since I’m sure we’ll be repeating this program next summer!

  2. Stacy Dillon

    I love the idea of a take home packet. I’m thinking of ways to collaborate with classroom teachers to make this work in a school setting!

    1. Amanda M

      Hi Stacy,
      Tiny Tots Co-op Nursery School (Rodney, Ontario) runs a program called Transition Train at their 3 local schools. It runs for 3 mornings in May/June at each school. They partner with the local Early Years Centre, Health Unit, Library, and Community Health Centre to provide activities that introduce the children to Kindergarten skills as well as the actual building and some of the staff.
      The children have an opportunity to ride the school bus (and practice the rules for getting on and off safely), have a snack together and participate in story & circle times – in addition to freely exploring activity centres with their parents. They also get to meet at least one of the K teachers, the principal and the school secretary and have a short visit in one of the K rooms. The parents receive a handout package with lots of helpful info.
      They send out invitations through the schools to all of the families registered for K in the fall. It’s a terrific program.

      You could contact Tiny Tots for more details on the activities they run within the program at The director’s name is Shelley and she would probably be happy to share some ideas.

  3. Travis Sherman

    Isn’t it sad to see our little regulars disappear? I love this theme because I think it’s so important to mark this occasion with a celebration. I even throw in a “snack” because they’ll get one in daycare/kindergarten.

  4. Mary

    Great ideas! I’ve been asked to do some kindergarten camps with my outreach partners. I will use these ideas for sure.

  5. Audrey Heneage

    I have been doing this program for a few years now. It is fun/sad to see your regulars off to elementary school! My program is more of a standard storytime so I think this year I will incorporate some of your other readiness skills.
    For my program, after talking about the kids’ new supplies for school we read Miss Bindergarten gets Ready for Kindergarten (Slate) to show preparation from the teacher’s point of view. I also read Kindergarten Rocks! (Davis) which covers nervousness and Mr. President Goes to School (Thomas) after which we do the Hokey Pokey. We watch the DVD of Chrysanthemum (Henkes) and then the kids practice writing their names on nametags. It is a fun program and the kids get to meet others from their schools ahead of time.

  6. Teresa Pierce

    I love all your ideas, Abby, and especially this off to kindergarten idea. Can you possibly share how you are going to do your beginning readers storytime? I’m really intrigued by that idea. Thanks!

    1. Abby Johnson

      Well, I don’t have everything planned quite yet, but I got the idea from Hi Miss Julie: and from Storytime Katie:

      We’ve been passing out the flyers and it *seems* like there is a lot of interest, so I’m hoping it’ll fly. I’ll definitely report back as we start doing it and see how it goes!

  7. Amanda M

    This sounds like a great program Abby! I love how you’re introducing Kindergarten skills in a fun, positive way & celebrating your group’s “graduation”. Your community is lucky to have such caring Librarians 🙂

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