Kindergarten teachers play a pivotal role in shaping the early educational experiences of young students, whether working in private schools, public schools, or elementary school settings. 

With a bachelor’s degree in hand, along with specialized training from teacher preparation programs, educators are well-equipped to address the diverse needs of kindergarten students, including those requiring special education support. 

kindergarten-teacher-must-haves

Understanding the importance of social skills development in early childhood education, they employ various teaching methods to foster social development and executive function skills from the first day of school.

As you likely know, kindergarten teachers prep for everything during the school year.  Where the kids will sit; where the supplies will be stored; what color folders belong where; how high to hang pocket charts, and so much more.  

Before you begin planning, you probably want to know what you will need as a kindergarten teacher.  

Welcome Kindergarten Teacher

Did you just land your dream job teaching kindergarten? Or, perhaps you have been transferred to teach kindergarten after many years of teaching another grade level.  Either way, congratulations!

Amidst the daily responsibilities of teaching, kindergarten educators prioritize personal hygiene education, instilling basic skills and habits in their young charges. 

Additionally, you’ll recognize the importance of physical education and integrate it into the school day, understanding its role in supporting overall well-being.

 In the bustling school environment, where social studies and basic subjects like English language and math are taught, you’ll also create a supportive atmosphere conducive to learning. 

You’ll leverage your years of experience and expertise to meet students’ needs.  

Like all elementary school teachers, you’ll adapt your teaching methods in different ways to accommodate diverse learning styles and abilities.

In short, kindergarten is the most exhausting, yet more rewarding grade levels I have taught.  When teaching young children important skills on a daily basis, it’s likely your brain will feel fried at the end of the day. 

Your idea of a fun night out will soon be a silent night at home.  However, being the good kindergarten teacher that you are, you know the endless hugs and fun learning moments are a great way to stay positive. 

Kindergarten Teachers Must-Haves

Whether you’re in a teacher preparation program, a new teacher, or have a master’s degree in elementary education, you know there’s always new and great ideas to improve your kindergarten class.  

As a public kindergarten teacher, the following are items I believe are most useful for early childhood teachers to have on hand.  

1.  Kindergarten Math Talks

I’m starting with my absolute favorite- Math Talks!  

Hands down – these math talks (digital and printable) will be your favorite kindergarten resource, too!

Student-led Math Talks about all of the kids favorite seasonal and holiday themes will quickly become the best part of the day!

2.  Question of the Day

As your kids walk into the room, or sign in to remote learning, get them into a routine of answering the question of the day.    

A simple yes/no question gets them feeling as though they are a part of the classroom community.

 This fun activity leads into so many more learning opportunities, such as writing or journaling prompts, math lessons, etc.

3.  Kindergarten Teachers Backpack

Here’s an essential that is just for you!  

A teacher bag, or teacher tote, is a must-have when teaching any grade level.  However, when teaching kindergarten, you will need a large bag to carry home lots of items to prep.  

I’ve had tote’s in the past, but prefer a backpack.  Either one is great to carry your lesson plans, materials, lunch bag, and laptop, in.

4.  Flair Pens

While not an absolute must, flair pens will quickly become a staple in your kindergarten classroom.  I stock up on these at the start of every school year!

kindergarten-teachers-pens

5.  Sharpies

You will want sharpies for labeling folders, binders, writing on zip-loc baggies, and so much more!

I love the Sharpies assorted pack with bright, vibrant, colors!

6.  Classroom Dry-Erase Tape

Dry-erase tape is a game changer; turn any space into a dry-erase surface.

 You can use dry-erase tape as name tags on tables or desks, write daily learning goals, cubbies, labeling hallway displays, to write the sight word or letter of the day, etc.

7.  Eric Carle Books

I absolutely love Eric Carle books, and believe they should be a staple in every kindergarten classroom!  

I read Brown Bear, Brown Bear at the beginning of each school year, and use Brown Bear printable resources as a follow-up.  

Then, throughout the year, I continue to introduce Eric Carle books.  At the end of the year, the kids loved doing an author study.

8.  Dry Erase Pockets

These dry-erase pockets are great for centers, small group practice, morning work, and so much more!  

Simply slide a worksheet into the pocket, and use your favorite dry erase marker.  

9.  Flexible Seating in Kindergarten

Give students a choice to maximize learning.  

Wobble stools, cushions, scoop chairs, and ball chairs are just a few!  

If you’re lucky, you’re school district will provide at least a few flexible seating options in each classroom.

 If not, create an amazon wishlist, and let your friends and family know what you’re saving up for.

10.  Anchor Chart Paper

I’m obsessed with anchor charts!

 You can stick these post-it charts right to the wall, and not worry about finding a way to hang them.

 I also use lined chart paper for morning message, shared writing, weekend news, how-to-draw lessons, and so much more! Love, love, love these!

11.  Counting Manipulatives

You will use these manipulatives for counting, colors, sorting, graphing, matching, addition and subtraction.  

There are endless ways to use these manipulatives in the kindergarten classroom. 

I also love using mini-erasers for math activities, such as these Monthly Math Mats.

September-Math-Mats-numbers-to-20-prek-kindergarten-first-grade

12.  Pocket Charts

Through all 17 years of teaching, there were pockets charts all over my kindergarten classroom!

I used them for Build a Poems, Question of the Day, stations, mini-lessons, and much more!

apple-poem-for-kids

13.  Colorful Storage Container for Kindergarten Teachers

Oh.  My.  Goodness!  These are ah-may-zing!!!  

Use these colorful storage containers for math talks, centers, task cards, build a poem word cards, and so much more!

14.  Scotch Laminator 

 I finally invested in my own Scotch laminator, and absolutely love it!

 I no longer have to wait in line at the laminating machine just to find out it is jammed or out of lamination.

15.  Cotton Pads for Dry Erase

You may have read about these on my Basics of a Kindergarten Classroom post.  

These facial pads, or should we call them magic erasers, are a hit year after year!

16.  Playdoh

I can’t think of a kindergarten teacher that doesn’t have an abundance of playdoh in their classroom.

You can use playdoh for fine-motor, letter building, word building, sight words, sensory stations, etc.

👉 FREE ALPHABET PLAYDOH MATS

superhero alphabet playdoh printables

17.  Astrobright Paper

If you’re school doesn’t provide Astrobright colored paper, I strongly suggest investing in some.  

You’ll want to run off important forms and parent letters on this to catch the parents attention.

18. Teacher Planner

What teacher doesn’t have a planner?  I like to have a desktop calendar, but also a planner that I can carry back and forth.

19.  Bean Bags

Bean bags are great for playing games.  Games for kids can include board games, card games, music & movement, and more.

20.  Foam Dice

You’ll definitely want foam dice for math games and centers.

 Regular dice, however, are too noisy and easily distract others.  But foam dice are silent, and nobody can get hurt if they “accidentally” get tossed too hard.

21.  Magnetic Letters

I should have put this first!  No explanation needed.  Every kindergarten classroom needs a set of magnetic letters.

22.  Magnetic Counters for Tens Frames

 You will be teaching base ten and introducing a fives frame and a tens frame.

 These magnetic counters are perfect for those lessons.

 You can also use them for counting the days of schools and daily number talks.

23.  Clip boards

Clip boards are great for independent centers, such as write the room, and when doing work at the carpet area.

24.  Alphabet Pocket Chart:

 I have had my alphabet pocket chart for over a decade, and it is still like new!

 This can be it’s own center, or kept in the guided reading area.  I love it because it comes with so many picture and letter cards.

25.  Birthday Surprises

Simply tape happy birthday printable tags to the top of crazy straws, pencils, or a treat to give to the kids on their birthdays.

Here’s 10 Ways to Celebrate Birthdays at School.

26.  Wireless Doorbell

So many kindergarten teachers swear by this!

wireless doorbell is great for getting the students attention, rather than using some traditional call and response methods for classroom management.

27.  Clothespins

You’ll want an abundance of clothespins.  

You can use them for clip-card centers, or to hang student work. They are perfect for also helping the kids build their fine motor skills.

28.  Binders:

Every year, I used binders for the student’s Poetry Notebooks.  

We would learn a poem a week, and take home the binder over the weekend to read it to a family member.  

29.  Stickers for Kids

Kindergartners love stickers! Use them for student work, on tens frames, counting the days of school, or on sticker charts.

The picture below shows how we used stickers for the Counting Days of School activity.

kindergarten-classroom-counting-days-of-school

30.  Shaving Cream for Kids

A class favorite every year!  Use shaving cream for sensory-based writing, sight words, or make shaving cream playdoh!

31.  Table Organizers

Table organizers would sit in the center of each of my student’s table. They would house crayons, glue sticks, and scissors.

32.  Chapstick for Positive Behaviors

Using chapstick as a smelly sticker, or smelly spot, has been my best classroom management strategy for kindergarten.

There are several ways in which I use smelly spots in the classroom.  For example, when transitioning the kids to/from the carpet, I acknowledge those who go quietly and quickly, and quickly give them a swipe of smelly chapstick on the back of their hand as a reward!

33.  Kindergarten Crate Subscription Box

Ok, so these might not be a “must-have”, but I promise you – once you get a Kindergarten Crate Box, you’ll understand why I love them so much!

Every month, a box arrives at your doorstep, complete with everything you need to teach that month’s theme.

 For example, you’ll get a teacher gift, craft supplies, a book to read aloud to the kids, and tons of math and language arts activities to go along with that story.

Go to KindergartenCrate.com and use code CORNER to get 10% off your order.  Try it…you’ll love this kindergarten subscription box!

If you missed any items above, here’s a quick list to refer to:

  1. Teachers Backpack
  2. Flair Pens 
  3. Sharpies
  4. Dry-Erase Tape
  5. Read-Aloud Books
  6. Dry-Erase Pockets
  7. Flexible Seating
  8. Anchor Chart Paper
  9. Chart Paper Markers
  10. Counting Manipulatives
  11. Label Maker
  12. Pocket Charts
  13. Crayon Sharpener
  14. Storage Containers
  15. Laminator and Laminating Sheets
  16. Dry-erase pads
  17. Playdoh
  18. Astrobright Paper
  19. Bean Bags
  20. Teacher Planner
  21. Foam Dice
  22. Clothespins
  23. Magnetic Letters
  24. Magnetic Counters
  25. Clipboards
  26. Wireless Doorbell
  27. Binders
  28. Stickers
  29. Shaving Cream
  30. Alphabet Pocket Chart
  31. Birthday Surprises
  32. Shaving Cream
  33. Table Organizers
  34. Chapstick
  35. Kindergarten Crate Subscription Box
  36. Poem of the Day
  37. Question of the Day
  38. Math Talks

Before you go, here are a few blog posts you may enjoy:

Kindergarten Must-Have Books

115 Top Picks for Poem of the Day in Kindergarten

21 Best Educational Apps for Kids

kindergarten-teachers-must-haves

Kindergarten Teachers