5 Great Ways to Build Relationships with Your Students and Parents at the Beginning of the Year

Saturday, August 31, 2019 No comments

I can't believe that it is already the last day of August! Where has the time gone? I am already a couple weeks into the school year and things have really amped up. I love the beginning of the year because it gives you a fresh new start and it's always so exciting to welcome new students and families to the school and classroom. It is especially exciting for my early learners (Pre-K3) because they are the youngest at the school which goes up to 12th grade. This is hopefully the beginning of a long school experience on our campus (many students start in Pre-K and stay until graduation). I also love that I can continue to see these students as they grow throughout the years. I can't believe that my first group of early learners at this school are already in the 3rd grade! It's been so fun watching them grow and I love that they still remember me because they continue to see me throughout the years.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, but have been so much fun! I have loved getting to know my new little ones and their families. I have also been working on building relationships with the parents of my students and creating a connection between home and school. Some ways in which you can build these relationships at the beginning of the year are:

1. Postcards- A couple weeks before school starts, I send postcards to the students introducing myself and telling the child how excited I am to have them in my class. This helps build that connection with the child before meet & greet. The students love getting these! I have even heard of a few students over the years that have carried these postcards around with them because they were so excited about getting them and starting school!

2. Emails to Parents- I also send an email to all of my parents before school starts to welcome them to the classroom and reminding them about meet & greet.

3. Meet & Greet- This is such a great time for students and families to meet you and explore the room. The students especially love seeing where their cubby, their spot on the carpet, and their seat is. It's also fun to give them a small treat or surprise to welcome them to the classroom. I print out these tags and attach them to a glow stick to give to each student. Glow Stick Tag

4. Parent Share Conferences- During the first few days of school, we have Parent/Teacher conferences which gives the teacher and parents time to get to know each other and for the parents to share about their child, ask any questions that they may have, and talk about their goals for the year. When we have our conferences in October, I follow up on these goals and talk about their child's progress. This also gives the parents a chance to talk about their child's strengths and weaknesses and helps them to feel that you know more about different aspects of their child's life besides what you see at school.

5. Open House/Parents' Night- This is a time for parents to come in and learn about the specific curriculum and activities that are taught in the classroom. This time also gives them a chance to ask any other questions that they might have. I also like to talk a little more about myself, my family, my teaching experiences, and my school experiences. I also like to provide the families with special treats including water bottles with lemonade. Open House Lemonade Tags

Building strong relationships with the students and families at the beginning of the year is important to creating a close-knit and positive classroom environment and sets the tone for the year. When you work to get to know and understand each family and child's home culture and needs, you are creating a strong home-school team and support for the family. In my experience, this positive start to the year also helps the parents feel that you are both on the same team and they are not as quick to assume the worst or get as upset when things don't go the way they think they should. This also helps if you have a difficult situation to talk to a family about, they are more prone to believe that you want what's best for their child because you take the time to listen and understand each student in the class.

Wishing the best for everyone this year!