Greeting Ideas for School Gatherings

Photograph by Tim Wessel.In my article, “School Gatherings: Build Community, Boost Learning,” I talk about the power of school gatherings.

Over the years I’ve taught in a variety of settings—and no matter what the setting, when children have the opportunity to come together with other children from their grade or school, they benefit in many ways. They learn what it means to be a good audience member, they practice leadership and public speaking, and they develop a vision of themselves as members of a community.

In the newsletter article I offer eleven tips for successful school gatherings. I encourage you to take a look at these tips and see what might work for your setting.

One tip I give is to establish a simple, predictable format for school gatherings, and that includes thinking about how to start the gatherings. A great way to start is with a group greeting that actively involves students, acknowledges all of them, and sets a welcoming, upbeat tone that says “This school is yours. You get to learn and grow here.”

Here are some things to think about when choosing greetings and helping teachers prepare:

  • Make sure the greeting is safe to do in a larger space and appropriate for a multi-age group of children.
  • Choose simple greetings in which students stay seated and sing or chant together.
  • Let teachers know ahead of time what the greeting will be so that they can teach the words and practice them with children before the school gathering.
  • Ask teachers to also teach, model, and practice any movements or gestures needed so that children can do the greeting safely. Sometimes, teachers might need to modify the gestures to make them easier or safer for a particular age group.

To give you a taste of possible greetings for school gatherings, here’s a greeting for the first gathering of the year:

(Teachers chant. Students stand up as their grade is called.)

Another year has just begun.
Time for learning and for fun.
Your teachers want to welcome you.
Say hello, how do you do?

Kindergarten, stand up!
First grade, you too!
Second grade, glad you’re here.
Third grade, what’s new?
Fourth grade leads the rest.
(Name of school) is the best!

Welcome back to everyone.
That’s our greeting, now it’s done!

Yeah, (name of school)!

And here are two ideas for greetings that would be fun at any time of year:

Hidey, Hidey, Hidey, Ho!

Leader: Hidey, Hidey, Hidey, Ho!
Group: Hidey, Hidey, Hidey, Ho!

Leader: What d’ya say, what d’ya know?
Group: What d’ya say, what d’ya know?

Leader: Hidey, Hidey, Hidey, Hay!
Group: Hidey, Hidey, Hidey, Hay!

Leader: Hope you have a wonderful day!
Group: Hope you have a wonderful day!

2, 4, 6, 8 Greeting

Two, four, six, eight
Who do we appreciate?
Yeah, Kindergarten! (kindergartners raise arms as in a wave)

Two, four, six, eight
Who do we appreciate?
First grade
Yeah, first grade! (first graders raise arms as in a wave)

Two, four, six, eight
Who do we appreciate?
Second grade
Yeah, second grade! (second graders raise arms as in a wave)

Two, four, six, eight
Who do we appreciate?
Third grade
Yeah, third grade! (third graders raise arms as in a wave)

Fourth grade, etc.

Do you have ideas for school gathering greetings? Share them below!

Susie Cook teaches third graders at Graland Country Day School, an independent preK–8 school in Denver, CO, that uses the Responsive Classroom approach schoolwide. She is a Responsive Classroom consulting teacher.


Tags: Building Schoolwide Community, Whole-school meetings