There are so many ways to make preschool portfolios with your students! Here’s a sweet and simple way to show your students’ parents how their kids have grown over the preschool year.
Be sure to grab your free printable end of the year poem at the bottom of the post!
In both my kindergarten and preschool classes, I have always enjoyed creating end of year portfolios.
I find it’s a very helpful tool to show a child’s progress between the beginning of school and the end of school. Plus, it’s a nice keepsake for both the child and her parents.
Within each child’s portfolio is a page for each month we’re in school. I’ve made the portfolios slightly differently each year, depending on the grade level, the kids’ interests, and the growth of the individual children.
Making Preschool Portfolios with Your Students
Here, I’ll share with you what many of my preschool portfolios have looked like. There will be some more suggestions for you at the end of the post, so be sure to check those out too!
This set of preschool portfolios includes a picture of the child from each month, as well as a piece of hand print art, and a short writing sample.
Pictures to Include
I like to take pictures of the children individually, but I sometimes include group shots that the kids really love. You can, of course, decide which pictures work best for you and your students.
The photos I use tend to be of special events from each month. I like to make sure they have a picture of themselves from those days since the children are much more likely to remember them!
Below are some suggestions for monthly pictures to take of the children. These are just some of the different photos I’ve taken with the children over the years. Incorporate what works best for you!
- September – First day of school
- October – Halloween parade
- November – Friendship Feast
- December – Visit to Santa’s Workshop or making gingerbread cookies
- January – Pajama Day
- February – Valentine’s Day party
- March – Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day
- April – Preschool mud day
- May – Camp-Out Day during a preschool camping theme
Other ideas might be pictures of an egg hunt during your Easter activities, holding a baby chick when you’re hatching chicks with the children, the kids experiencing a messy play day outside, your students working on a special art project, etc.
The sky’s the limit, really.
Hand Print Art Ideas
I enjoy adding hand print art to the preschool portfolios, and I did so during kindergarten as well. I think it’s a great way to show parents and kids how much they’ve grown during the year.
Not everyone likes hand print art, and I understand that. I’m a big believer in working with the children to create hand print art they like. If they’re not up for making the art, then I don’t force it. If you’re not a fan of hand print art, then consider adding other art project samples in your portfolio!
Here are some hand print ideas for your preschool portfolios:
- September = September portfolio writing hand prints or a parent appreciation apple hand print
- October = Pumpkins growing on the vine
- November = Fall hand print tree
- December = Santa, Rudolph, an evergreen tree, or the Gingerbread Man
- January = Mittens
- February = Valentine hand print craft of a heart tree
- March = Easter art activity with Easter egg hand prints
- April = Duck On a Bike story retelling hand print
- May = A campfire from our preschool camping theme
Preschool Portfolio Writing Samples
In addition to the photos and the hand print art, I love including a writing sample from each month.
To me, it’s a great way to see how far each child has come — in terms of letter-sound knowledge, language, and fine motor skills.
Usually, the first month is just a dictation (where I write down the child’s words). As the months progress, the children begin writing more and more.
For the writing samples, I sit down with the children individually. The child comes up with what’s being written about, and I help with spacing and “stretching” the words for the kiddo.
If the child knows the letter that goes with the sound, or knows how to write the high frequency word, she does so. Otherwise, I write it. I love seeing the children take control of their writing as the year moves along.
Front Cover and Last Page
In addition to a page for each month, I also have a cover page and a final page. On the cover, I have “(Child Name)’s Preschool Portfolio: (Year)”. I also like to include a class picture from the year on the front.
The last page always makes me tear up. On this page, I include a picture of me with the child. If I have a co-teacher or an assistant teacher, they’re included in the picture too of course! This is also where I include a sweet poem for the children. I sign it, as do any co-teachers or teaching assistants I have for that year.
I haven’t been able to find the original source of this poem, but I promise to come back and add a link once I do.
Grab your own copy of the poem below (there are a couple of versions included).
Putting it All Together
Once I have the hand print, the photo and the writing sample, I glue each to a large piece of construction paper (12”x18”) and laminate it.
At the end of the year, I assemble each child’s book and send it home for them to keep.
There are a variety of ways to bind the preschool portfolios, so just do what works best for you. When I first started teaching, I hole punched the pages and attached everything with binder rings.
Partway through my preschool teaching career, I purchased a small binding machine and fell in love. That’s what I have used to assemble the portfolios ever since! The binding machine works great when making class books, too.
Other Preschool Portfolio Ideas
As I mentioned above, there are so many different ways to make early childhood portfolios. You definitely don’t have to make yours like I’ve made mine. I have tweaked my portfolios every year, so they don’t tend to look the same from year to year.
My biggest suggestion is to decide what you want to show the parents when it comes to growth. In the past, I’ve included name writing samples, monthly self-portraits, pictures from each of our different centers in preschool, examples of each subject area, process art projects, etc.
Portfolios can also be a great way to show parents what the children have learned throughout their preschool year. If that’s the direction you’re going, I’d suggest combining pictures from the classroom, writing samples, art samples, and the children’s preschool assessment information. You might also include examples of anecdotal records from throughout the year.
For a different take on things, be sure to check out Teaching 2 and 3 Year Old’s memory books!
What are some ways you track progress over the year? Do you compile any kind of portfolio for your students or children? I’d love to hear any ideas you have!
Free Printable End of the Year Poem
The poems are available to members of Fun-A-Day’s email community. If you’re already a member, enter your email in the form below to have the printable sent to your inbox.
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Hands-On Preschool Materials
It is imperative that we keep our classrooms stocked with materials that will give our students the hands-on learning experiences that they love (and need!). There are a few specific things that I always keep on-hand in my classroom. Check them out in the list below.
I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
- Safety scissors
- Dramatic play items
- Math manipulatives
- Dry erase markers
- Sensory items
- Play dough
- Craft supplies
- Playground balls
- Music and movement tools
- Books, books, and more books!
When it comes to preschool, this list is really just skims the surface of the wide variety of materials that can be used. The best thing about this age group is that they learn the most while playing. So, whether they’re playing on the playground, building with blocks, or creating a masterpiece, rest assured that the children are learning so many important skills, all while having fun!
Preschool Teacher Resources
If you’re looking to save some time planning for preschool, be sure to pop over to Preschool Teacher 101. You’ll find a bevy of done-for-you resources like preschool lesson plans, math and STEM activities, and literacy packs.
Check out our membership options for even more ways to save your time.
Here are some resources you might like! Click on the photos below for more information: