Activity Quick Finder:

Substitute Teacher Transition

Book: The GIANT Encyclopedia of Transition Activities for Children 3 to 6



3 through 4 Years Old

PDF Available


three-ring binder with dividers
typing paper
computer or typewriter
small photo of each child
glue stick


1. It’s always hard on children when their familiar teacher is unexpectedly
absent. You can help ease this transition by creating a handbook for the
substitute teacher.
2. Use the dividers to divide the handbook into the following categories.
* All About Us: In this section, paste a small photo of each child to the
pages. Next to the child’s picture, write important information about that
child, such as known allergies, pertinent family information, or comments
about the child’s temperament or behavior. Keep your comments as
positive as possible in order to avoid the substitute pre-judging the
child’s behavior.
* Our Daily Schedule: In this area put a copy of your daily schedule with
detailed explanations as to what activities take place at certain times of
the day. Also include notes about daily forms, if any, that need to be filled
out on each child.
* “Where Is It?”: In this area make notes about where important items are
stored in your classroom, such as emergency contact information, first aid
kit, teacher supplies (glue, scissors, tape, and so on), and lesson plan
resource books.
* What Do I Do If…?: In this area make notes about the procedure to be
followed in certain situations. Some examples are: 1) If the fire alarm rings;
2) If we have to evacuate due to weather or other conditions; 3) If a child
is injured; 4) If a child becomes ill; and 5) If a child needs medicine given
at school.
* Important Forms: In this area place copies of forms frequently needed,
such as Sick Child; Accident/Incident; Medication Dispensation; and
Daily Notes.
* Help: In this area include information about the organizational structure
of your school or center. Include the name and phone number (or
intercom number) of the director and assistant director. Also, include
information about teachers or caregivers in nearby classrooms your
substitute can call on for assistance.
3. At the end of the handbook, write a nice letter to your substitute thanking
her or him for helping out when needed. This letter, since written in advance,
will have to be “generic” but it will be a nice touch and greatly appreciated
by whoever takes your place as you recover.
More to do If you are ill, as soon as you are able, write a letter to the children telling them
how much you miss them. Mention the substitute and encourage the children
to listen to her or him while you are gone.
Literacy: Make sure you have a good supply of “new teacher” books that show
the new teacher in a positive light. Ask your substitute to read these books with
the children.

More Activities to Try