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Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Fun Ideas for Staff Appreciation Days

A school is filled with many important staff members who all play a vital role. While many of us initially think of teachers, there are so many other people who help make the school day run smoothly! If you're an administrator, principal, or member of your Sunshine Committee - this post will offer some fun and inspiring ideas for all of those upcoming Staff Appreciation Days! Best of all, these ideas get your students involved too! 

Use these fun ideas for staff appreciation days to show every staff member in your school how much you appreciate everything they do to keep your school running smoothly.

Celebrating Staff Appreciation Days 

School nurses, bus drivers, secretaries, custodians, support staff, cafeteria workers, and administrators are all important staff members in any school. In addition to the teachers, these people help make each day run smoothly and support our students. These staff members deserve recognition just as much as our dear teachers do! Luckily, each of these titles has its own appreciation day when we can let them know how much they are valued. 

You don't have to wait to celebrate staff appreciation days at the end of the year with these fun ideas.
And even if you don't want to stick with those specific days, you can choose any day to show staff members at your school that their hard work matters! This is especially fun when used as "bookends" to the beginning and end of the school year. During these crazy busy times, our school staff members are working hard and can benefit from a little boost! 

There are lots of ideas out there for teacher appreciation day, which is of course, so valuable! But what on earth do we do to celebrate the other staff members in our school? Come along to see how I helped make everyone in our school system feel valued during my time as the leader of our Sunshine Committee! 

Letters to Support Staff and Specials 

Aside from our primary teachers, the paraprofessionals and "specials" teachers play a huge role in the education and development of our students. Not to mention, they are a big support to teachers as well! Over the years, I've found that students tend to have a valued relationship with these people. The time spent with them is a little different than their time in the regular classroom, so they have an opportunity to create a unique bond. 

Use letter like these for support staff to celebrate staff appreciation days throughout the year.
My favorite way to show appreciation to these staff members is by having students write "Letters of Thanks". To do this, I had students each write a page detailing their favorite thing about each person. For example, they might write about their favorite thing about gym class, art class, intervention, library, speech, or music. 

Then, they illustrate their personalized letter in any way they like! This is the fun part because you'll see a huge variance in illustrations by grade level. Once you've collected all of your letters, bind them together into a book. I used a cute cover page that had a picture of the class or support staff environment. The covers all had titles that said something like "We Love Speech!" or "We Love P.E.!" I know your support staff members will LOVE looking through these cute appreciation books! 

School Nurse and Secretarial Staff Appreciation Days

Use a fun and creative worksheet like this to show your school secretary how much you appreciate them during their staff appreciation days.
These special days usually fall sometime in April and May, and they're a great opportunity to show your staff how much their time and care for students is valued! Both the school nurse and the school secretaries are invested in ensuring our kiddos are healthy, safe, and cared for on a daily basis. No visit by the office is complete without a wave to these important people! 

A signature frame was one of my favorite gifts for showing appreciation to our school nurse and our secretaries. To create this, I printed off a page with a fun phrase. Then, I had every student sign their name on the page. Finally, I placed these pages in a nice frame and presented them to the staff members on their specific day of appreciation. These look super cute displayed at their desks and were always a huge hit! Take a closer look at the resources I used for  School Nurse Appreciation Day and School Secretary Appreciation Day if you're looking for a unique gift for these staff members!

Use a word bank and letter template like these for staff appreciation days celebrating your school nurse.
I also have another option in both of these resources that has a page for students to write letters of appreciation to each staff member. If we had time, I really liked to have students work on both projects. There's just something so special about a personalized letter from a student, right?!

To make this easier to facilitate, I've even included a word bank that can be projected up on the board to inspire student learning. Some of the included words for the nurse are band-aids, cot, and thermometer. The word bank for the secretary includes desk, telephone, computer, and more.

These words help ensure the letters are personalized and relate to what that specific staff member does for our students! This can be especially helpful for younger children in K-2. The extra prompting and vocabulary help them think about what they'd like to include in their letters of appreciation. Once students write their letters, I bind each book together, add a cute cover, and gift them to the person.

Show Appreciation for the Custodial Staff

Where oh where would we be without our wonderful school custodians?! Schools are messy, germy places and they work hard to keep our rooms feeling fresh and clean. We all know this is such a big job, and I think I speak for everyone when I say that it's SO appreciated! 

Don't forget your school custodian with this creative signature page you and your students can use during staff appreciation days this year.
I think that these staff members are often the ones that are forgotten the most since they typically work after school day hours. I like to talk to students about these important people and how they "shine up" the school while we're at home every evening. 

Once explained, the children view this important task differently and begin to understand the magic they provide to our classrooms. It's a great way to make sure each and every one of your students understands why this special gift to our custodian is so necessary! 

I liked to have kiddos create a framed signature page just like the one we make for the nurse, except it says "The World's Best School Custodian!". The kids love helping to make this and it's always a fun gift to give. I also have options for writing letters if you'd like to present them with a book as well! 

Cafeteria Staff Appreciation Booklet 

Everyone loves lunchtime, and our cafeteria staff works hard every day to make sure there is plenty of food for everyone! In my school, our cafeteria workers seemed to know every child's name and their specific food allergies. I was so appreciative of this because their daily greeting to students made them all feel valued. 

Staff appreciation days include cafeteria staff as well, and fun gifts like these are sure to be appreciated by all cafeteria staff.
To show appreciation to these important people, I worked with students to create a cute booklet. For this activity, each child will fill out a cute "lunch tray" page that details some of their personal favorites. The prompts include things like favorite thing to eat, favorite thing about going through the line, and more. The responses will vary by grade level, so try and get a few from each one to mix it up! 

When you have them all collected, bind them into a book, add a nice cover, and present it to the cafeteria staff. I know they will love reading through it!

There are also letters of appreciation and student crowns they can wear to the cafeteria when you go to present them with appreciation gifts. I like to encourage the kids to use their very best work to decorate colorful crowns and pictures. The staff always light up when they see the kids walk into the cafeteria with their crowns on! Plus, it's really fun to get a picture of the staff and the kids in their crowns to hang in the cafeteria! 

Bus Driver Appreciation Day 

Our bus drivers help ensure that everyone gets to and from school safely and promptly. Show them a little love with one of the fun ideas in this resource! Inside you'll find:
Include bus drivers in your staff appreciation days with a meaningful certificate like this.
  • Bus Driver Awards 
  • Bus Driver Letter Booklet 
  • Bus Driver Appreciation Crowns 
I like to have students write a letter that details their favorite thing about riding on the bus. They can share a fun experience, or share a detail that they love about their driver. 

Then, bind these letters into a pretty booklet, wrap it up, and add the bus driver award to the top. Then, have your students create their appreciation crowns and wear them as they are getting on the bus. Present your bus driver with their gift and watch their surprise! Your students will be so excited to participate in this activity, and I know your driver will love it too! 

Administrators

We can't forget about our tried and true leaders.  Our principals and assistant principals often get left out of the appreciation because they are busy planning it all. But. . . with a few simple steps, you can show your administrators just how awesome they are.  A bulletin board or hallway display declares to the world that you have the #BestPrincipalEver.  Surround that with words that describe the administrator and then let your students and teachers add notes to the display.  

Create an interactive hallway bulletin board to show your administrators that you appreciate them.

It's a great way for the entire school to work together to show appreciation for all that administrators do.

How to Use These Resources 

Depending on the size of your school, you might be wondering how to facilitate these activities. Here's my favorite suggestion - choose a few grade levels or classrooms for each person. For example, maybe K-2 will work on gifts for the bus drivers, cafeteria staff, and custodians. Then grades 3-5 can make gifts for the support staff, secretaries, and nurses. 

Get the whole school involved in writing letters, putting together booklets, and more with these staff appreciation days printable worksheets you can use all year long.
From here, you can assign specific classrooms to work on individual activities. For example, all of the bus riders in Ms. Jacob's classroom will make pages for the bus drivers, while the other students in the room will write letters for the school nurse or secretary. This will make sure you're assigning activities that are applicable to each student and allow for a nice mix of letters and notes among the grades. 

I recommend giving teachers plenty of time to plan for these activities and it's best if you can offer support to facilitate this as much as possible. Perhaps your Sunshine Committee or parent volunteers can come in to help students work on these projects during center time. Or maybe you can offer to lead the activity with a couple classrooms at a time in the multipurpose room. Whatever you choose, try to lighten the load for teachers and not add another thing to their plates! 

Get Started with Staff Appreciation Day Gifts! 

Love all of these ideas? If so, be sure to check out the Staff Appreciation Bundle! Inside you'll find all of the activities in one place, so you can make sure that everyone in your school gets the recognition they deserve! 

Grab this bundle to use all year long for staff appreciation days celebrations your whole school can get involved in.

As a bonus, you'll also find volunteer appreciation gift tags inside the bundle as well. These will come in really handy if you'd like to thank your school volunteers as well! Grab the bundle and use it year after year for fun and personalized gifts that your staff will absolutely love! 

Save This Post 

This post is jam-packed with fun ideas to show staff appreciation. Be sure to pin it on Pinterest to keep these ideas at your fingertips! 

Looking for ways to celebrate each of the unique and amazing staff members who help your school be the best it is each and every year? Use these fun ideas for staff appreciation days to celebrate custodians, cafeteria workers, the school nurse, and more throughout the whole school year. #tarynsuniquelearning #funideasforstaffappreciationdays #staffappreciationdays #staffappreciation