Substitute Teacher Transition

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The GIANT Encyclopedia of Transition Activities for Children 3 to 6

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The GIANT Encyclopedia of Transition Activities for Children 3 to 6


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


What to do

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.


-Virginia Jean Herrod, Columbia, SC


1. Tell the children that they will hear music as they clean up from play time
and prepare for group time.
2. Display the name of the music, performer, or country of origin.
3. Initiate discussion about the music as children prepare for group time.
4. Encourage families of different cultures to supply a favorite family recording
to play and help with discussion.

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