Four Tips to Connect with Parents and Students Before the First Day of School

Mom and dad drawing with their daughter. African american family spending time together at home.It’s hard to believe it’s already August. That means your favorite summertime iced coffee drinks are in limited supply, and you’ll be back to school in only a few short weeks. It also means that you’re not the only one starting to think about the upcoming school year. Your new students and their parents are also starting to get excited and are wondering what they should be doing to prepare for the next school year. In a previous post we discussed how important it is for parents to be a part of their children’s education. Keeping that in mind, right now is the perfect time to reach out to students and parents or guardians to introduce yourself and set some expectations for the upcoming school year. Read on for some easy but impactful strategies to engage your future students and parents before the first day of school.

4 Simple Ways to Make Connections Before The First Day of School

  1. Introduce Yourself via Email. Keep your outreach concise and focus on precisely what you want to communicate to parents, notably that you’re excited about the upcoming school year, you expect your students to work hard but have fun, and that you are available now and any time throughout the year as a resource for parents and students to ensure the best possible student experience and academic outcomes. If you want to provide more detailed information, such as a classroom material list or calendar of school holidays, include them as separate attachments or link to them within your email.
  2. Connect via Snail Mail. Printed letters are still a reliable way to get someone’s attention, and any parent will tell you that a letter from their child’s school is likely the piece of mail that they will open first. A simple, one-page, one-sided, black and white letter summarizing the same sentiments noted above is cost-efficient but will still make an impact. Taking this a step further, you can also send an informal handwritten letter or postcard to your new student and family expressing how excited you are for school to start and to meet your new class.
  3. Ask Parents and Students to Complete a Questionnaire. If you’re always looking for ways to tailor your lesson plans to better address students’ interests, or parental concerns, use the last few weeks of summer to find out what those interests and concerns are now. An online survey with one open-ended question for both parents and students asking for general feedback and hopes for the school year can help you make adjustments to your initial plans to respond to those needs. You could also include informal questions, such as what does your child like to be called, what’s their favorite book, food, outside activity, what do they like to do for fun, etc. This can help you get to know your students before they even step foot in your classroom!
  4. Ask Students to Complete a Summer Project. Email parents or send a letter home asking students to prepare for the first day of school by completing a personal craft project to share on the first day. For example, ask students to create a collage that expresses who they are, their interests, and what makes them unique. Or have the student write a letter about what he or she would like to accomplish or what he or she is looking forward to in the coming year. Encourage parents to help in the process. On the first day of school, when all students arrive with their collages, you’ll have a ready-to-go, get-to-know-you activity.

Summer isn’t over yet, but now is the perfect time to get students and parents or guardians feeling connected to you, excited about the new school year, and re-engaged in their learning and development. Any form of outreach to your students’ homes, whether it be a simple email or an engaging activity will help to set the stage for a fun year of learning ahead and will showcase to parents that you already have their children’s best interest at heart.

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