Thursday, July 21, 2016

Back to School 2016 Part 1: Making Parents Feel Welcome

If your school is anything like mine you have a Meet the Teacher night right before the start of school.  This is a great opportunity for the students, their parents and even us teachers to meet and ease some of the anxiety of a new school year!  In this 2 part series I am going to share some things that I do to make students AND parents feel welcome. 

Parents can sometimes have just as much anxiety as their kiddos over the start of a new year.  Will the teacher “like” my child, will the classroom be warm and inviting, will the teacher make sure they get home the right way on the first day.  As a mom, I totally get these feelings.  These are their babies, the most precious things in the world, and they are trusting us to love on and care for them for an entire school year.  Meet the Teacher is a great opportunity to ease those nerves and start off on the right foot with parents!

Nothing says I am ready for your child like an organized classroom.  I like to make sure that everything is hung, clean, shelves are organized and I have ALL of my paperwork ready to go. 
This is what my room looked like last year just a few moments before Meet the Teacher started.

On each desk I have my class handbook ( I use the AMAZING flip book template by Learning in Wonderland).  I give this out at Meet the Teacher so parents have time to look through it and ask me any questions.  It also has our daily schedule as well as our specials schedule so students can be prepared for the first day (yes, we have specials on the first day of school!). 

Another anxiety that many parents have is dismissal time on the first day.  Third grade is the first year that students are on the “big kid side,” of our school building so that means that dismissal looks different for them.  This can cause some nervousness for everyone involved on day 1!  I like to have parents fill out a transportation form that lets me know their child’s normal transportation schedule and if that will look different on the first day of school.  You can grab the editable form FREE here.

I also leave a clothespin on the desk with the student’s name on it.  I have them hang the clothespin on the transportation chart.  This helps me make sure that the student also knows how they are going home on the first day of school.  Moving their clip on the chart becomes part of our morning routine in our classroom.  It helps me to make sure that each student knows how they are going home, helps anytime I get a phone call from the office, and if there is a change in their transportation during the day they have to physically get up and move it which helps them remember the change!This year I am using the adorable construction themed décor from The Creative Classroom so I made a transportation chart to match.  

Nothing makes people feel more welcome than having things personalized for them.  When parents see that you have taken the time to get things ready for their children it helps them feel at ease.  I like to have name tags on desks, but not taped down, just in case I have to make a change on them.  You know, like Charles goes by Matthew, not Charles!Another thing I like to have for each parent is a communication magnet.  I like parents to know right from the start that I am willing to talk with them, that this is a partnership between school and home and I am here to partner with them.  Parents feel welcomed and comfortable when they know that you have an open door and they can feel comfortable contacting you with questions. 

You can download my editable communication magnets  here

This is probably the most important of all…well maybe after being prepared!  Have fun with your new students.  Our grade level sets up a photo booth each year.  We use the photo booth from the sweet Moore to Learn.  You can check it out here!
Don’t be afraid to get in the pictures with your new students.  It helps everyone to feel at ease to know that the teacher is going to have fun with them this year!

I hope that you found some helpful tips and ideas and that your school year gets off to a great start!  Next up…Part 2: Making Students Feel Welcome!  


  1. I love how you have everything so organized for your Meet the Teacher night. I do believe that'll help parents feel comfortable about their child's teacher. I usually create a brochure at the beginning of the year but thought about using the flipbook. We shall ssee.I love the communication magnet idea and the photo booth!

    Have a great Meet the Teacher night and happy teaching this upcoming school year!