Start-of-School Survival Kit for Teachers

The start of a new school year is a busy time for children and teachers! The National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning NCQTL is pleased to offer this survival kit. Head Start teachers and other program staff can use the resources below to support their work with children and families all year long. Start exploring on your own and share them with colleagues.

Back-to-School Resources

Use these materials as a quick reminder of successful classroom practices to get you started this school year:

Schedules and Routines
Watch this four-minute video for tips on creating classroom schedules and routines. Learn how these practices promote childrens learning.

Visual Reminders of Classroom Expectations
Learn how printable visual cues for teaching children about behavior expectations, including a voice volume chart for the classroom, can promote positive behavior.

Tips for Teachers: Designing Environments
Use this one-page tip sheet for ideas on designing the classroom environment. Learn how the environment affects childrens learning and what you can do enhance it.

Tips for Teachers: Develop a Sense of Teamwork
Discover key practices to  build a strong teaching team. This resource lists ideas for providing feedback, sharing information, and more.

Get Ready for Kindergarten! Activity Calendar for Teachers
This year-long calendar focuses on childrens transitions to kindergarten. Find monthly activities that support smooth transitions for children and families.

Explore more NCQTL resources that highlight evidence-based teaching practices on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center ECLKC:

Send your questions to or call toll-free 1-877-731-0764.


Observed Quality and Psychometric Properties of the CLASS-T in the Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey


In this technical brief, we report on the use of the Toddler Classroom Assessment Scoring System CLASS-T in the Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey Baby FACES. We begin by providing a brief overview of the Baby FACES study, including its methodology and approach to data collection. Next, we provide a descriptive snapshot of quality in center-based settings drawing on observations conducted in Early Head Start classrooms serving 2- and 3-year-old children in Baby FACES. Finally, we document evidence from Baby FACES of the instrument’s psychometric properties, including results of factor analyses, internal consistency reliability, and concurrent and predictive associations to child development outcomes and other key indicators of quality.

Source: Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families

Available at:

Classroom Visuals and Supports

The Head Start Center for Inclusion offers a library of visual supports for teachers to use with children in the classroom. Look for illustrations of toys, art materials, daily schedule pictures, problem solving cue cards, and classroom certificates, to name just a few. Each one can be downloaded and printed out for immediate use.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center and Head Start Center on Inclusion

Available at:


The Backpack Connection Series was created by TACSEI to provide a way for teachers and parents/caregivers to work together to help young children develop social emotional skills and reduce challenging behavior. Teachers may choose to send a handout home in each child’s backpack when a new strategy or skill is introduced to the class. Each Backpack Connection handout provides information that helps parents stay informed about what their child is learning at school and specific ideas on how to use the strategy or skill at home. This series was developed in collaboration with Pyramid Plus: The Colorado Center for Social Emotional Competence and Inclusion and Bal Swan Children’s Center in Broomfield, Colorado.

The Backpack Connection Series includes handouts in four categories:

  • Addressing Behavior
  • Emotions
  • Routines and Schedules
  • Social Skills

Source: Technical Assistance Center for Social Emotional Intervention

Available at:

Activity Matrix: Organizing Learning Throughout the Day – Head Start


This in-service suite introduces the activity matrix as an effective tool for teachers to organize learning opportunities for children who need additional support during daily classroom activities and routines.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

Available at: