General Education

A Checklist for the First Day of Preschool

A Checklist for the First Day of Preschool
The evolution of the lunchbox has come a long way since workers hauled their food in tobacco tins. Image from Unsplash
Yonah Korngold profile
Yonah Korngold August 22, 2014

If you stock your first time scholar’s backpack with these items, she’ll be more than prepared when she walks through the door on the first day of preschool.

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Sometimes the scene is like the end of “ET"; a tearful long hug followed by a reassuring point to the heart while saying, “I’ll be right here."

Sometimes it plays out like the end of “Casablanca," after a long stare and a touch of the chin; the parent gives an eloquent, “Here’s looking at you, kid." No matter how you say goodbye to your child on the first day of preschool, there are a few items that your child will need to have with her when she takes that first step into the classroom.

Here is a checklist that will help you organize necessary items and help make that first morning as smooth as possible.

The Basics


A durable small backpack works, best but you can also let the child pick based on her favorite color or style to get her excited for the first day. Place a tag inside the backpack with your child’s name.

Forms or Questionnaires

Your child’s school will most likely ask you to bring a short form that lists any allergies/medications and anything else that the teacher should know about your child.

Complete Change of Clothes in a Ziploc Bag

Whether it is because of an accident or messy lunchtime, this change of clothes will surely come in handy sometime during the school year.


The evolution of the lunchbox has come a long way since workers hauled their food in tobacco tins. A reusable plastic box or nylon bag now works best.

Towel or Small Blanket

If only your child knew how lucky she is to have naptime incorporated into her everyday schedule!

Two Pencils, Erasers, Pencil Box, and Notebook

Your future author, architect, or artist will need some tools to get started.


Your child can use this folder to bring home notes and memos from the teacher and school.

Comfort Item

The school may not allow your child to bring a toy or stuffed animal but a picture of yourself, family, or pet can go a long way in easing your child’s anxiety.

Lunch/Snack (Nut-Free)

Cheese and crackers, pretzels, fruit, yogurt, a mini bagel, or granola all make up a healthy lunch and snack.

Water Bottle

A reusable spill-proof water bottle will keep your child hydrated while she is constantly on the move.

Tissues/Baby Wipes

These may be the most requested items from teachers to keep runny noses in check and hands clean.

Extra Tips

Arrive early.

Allow enough time for your child to become familiar with the classroom and teacher before you say goodbye.

Plan the night before and visualize the day.

Help your child know what to expect and let her imagine how her first day will go to get her excited and emotionally ready.

Don’t sneak away.

Even if your child runs off to play with friends make sure you let her know that you are leaving.

Practice the morning routine.

You can practice getting ready in the morning, packing lunch, and even driving to the school to help your child get a sense of how the morning will go.

Express pride.

Let your pre-k student know how proud you are of her even before she takes her first step into the classroom.

For more tips on helping your preschooler have the perfect first day, check out our article on the first day of preschool: before, during, and after.


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