If the first moments of introduction to school were used for building relationships rather than for transactional teaching, children quickly felt welcomed and valued in the space.

Watch Kiran share how the process of 'First Day First Week' was designed and shaped by the intention of valuing relationships.


Try the empathy lens:

Shadow a new teacher and subsequently a new student and get a sense of how the community welcomes them and notice:

  • What were the hot spots (low moments) and bright spots (highlights) of their day?
  • What experiences did they go through?
  • Where do you feel would have been an opportunity to make them feel more welcome?


  • At the beginning of the new academic year, if the child was new, there were chances that s(he) might feel anxious to come into a new set-up. Sometimes, children also felt anxious while entering a new grade or a new Key Stage, wondering whether they will make new friends and if they will be able to strike the right rapport with their teachers.

  • When teachers spent the first day of school establishing relationships and making children feel welcomed with genuine warmth, they felt a greater sense of belonging.

  • Once the children experienced that their presence and voice was valued, that set the tone for the rest of the year.



we could seed culture, community and a spirit of co-creation in the first week, and help children move from anxiousness to anticipation for the new year?



A ‘First Day First Week’ program with the intention of setting the tone for the year and forging relationships between the students and teachers. The first week included the following:

  • Welcoming children with good cheer into a space that looked festive;

  • Walkthrough, so that children got a sense of comfort in the school spaces;

  • Setting the tone through games;

  • Engaging in smaller groups and Key Stage as well as a whole school to build a sense of one community;

  • Meeting all the stakeholders to appreciate that everybody contributes to the culture;

  • Challenges to inculcate the ‘I CAN Mindset’;

  • Co-creation of the year by students and teachers through reflection and re-visiting the previous year.

The fallout of this program was that children felt heard, cared for and confident of embarking on the learning journey with their peers and teachers!



This process video helps make visible the design and implementation of the ‘First Day First Week’.


In the above video you will get a glimpse of how the teacher team comes together to design the first week for setting the tone for the year and also how students engage in multiple activities such as co-creating routines and protocols, playing tone-setting games, solving challenges, defining their goal for the year, etc.

Additional Videos:

  • 7:06

    a) Case Study 1: Pre K


In this section, Riverside edu-heroes share strategies and insights from their experience of the process and how the process has impacted their practice.

  • 9:29

    FAQ Video

    Watch Jahnavi share some insights on how to design the ‘First Day First Week’ program to set the tone for the new academic year.

  • 8:09

    Impact Video

    Watch how facilitating the ‘First Day First Week’ program impacts Jahnavi’s practice and helps her to seed culture, community and a spirit of co-creation in the school ecosystem.


  • Make sure that the days in the first week are not rushed and over-packed with activities. This may exhaust the children and make them more anxious.

  • Slow down, and let children have the time to engage with one another.

  • Don’t worry about not doing any teaching in this period.

  • If necessary, send an email to parents prior the first week to share with them how the week will be used for setting the tone and culture of the school. You can also share this plan during the Parent Orientation if it happens before the re-opening of the school.