By Teachers, For Teachers
The countdown has begun as schools are preparing to welcome back their students and teachers for the new year. This is an exciting time of year, and it’s important that administrators create a warm atmosphere. Making a school welcoming is much more than just decorating the hallways, it's more about creating an environment where everyone feels the love.
Here are a few back to school ideas that will make your students feel welcome.
If you have ever heard the expression "Kill them with Kindness," this should not be taken literally but proverbially. It goes to say that creating a welcoming environment starts with an attitude. Schools can make a great first impression by just being nice. Shaking students’ and parents’ hands as they walk in, offering a warm smile, or saying, "Welcome back to school, it's good to see you!" is a great way to start the new year. Using kind words and actions helps create a welcoming environment in which everyone feels loved and appreciated.
In addition to killing them with kindness, the school’s décor does play a role in creating a great first impression. Displaying a "Welcome Back" sign shows that you are excited to start the new year off right.
Among the more original back to school ideas I’ve heard about is building a "Customer Service Station" in one corner of the classroom. It’s a great place for parents and students to go to learn important information. It shows you put thought into creating a place where parents and students can address their concerns, or learn the latest news. Going that extra mile helps create an environment that says, "We're glad you are here!"
Organize a Meet-and-Greet
To help ease some back-to-school jitters, give students, parents and teachers the opportunity to meet one another before school even starts. Plan a barbeque or ice cream social where parents and students get to meet their teachers and fellow classmates in an informal way. This will give new students the opportunity to get acquainted with the school, and rid some of that before-school anxiety. Schools can plan an easy afternoon meet-and-greet, or plan a fun scavenger hunt where students and parents must find school-related items spread throughout the school grounds. These back to school ideas will make visitors feel welcome.
Student Welcome Letter
The traditional student welcome letter is usually written by the teacher and offers some information about the teacher's personal life, educational philosophy, classroom expectations, and supplies needed for the new school year. A welcome letter from the school, meanwhile, is a great addition to the traditional welcome letter, because it provides each household with information that is typically not included in the letter from the classroom teacher. In this welcome letter schools can provide important information, such as event dates, the school’s mission, and important contact numbers.
Sample Welcome Letter from the School
Dear Incoming students,
Welcome to the Willow School community! We are excited to start a new school year with you.
Our school mission is to provide quality support to all students and provide opportunities that challenge and empower students to reach their maximum potential.
We would like to invite you to an ice cream social on September 3, 2013, to meet your new teacher and get acquainted with the school grounds. We hope you will join us!
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us at 1-123-456-7890.
Willow School Principal
Many schools offer an open house a few days or weeks into the new school year. This event gives parents the opportunity to meet all of their child's teachers, and learn what they will be doing in school. This event is one of the most traditional ways to make parents feel welcome. On the day of this event, it is wise to have the principal make an appearance in each grade level. This shows the visitors that the principal is invested in their child's education. In addition to a visit from the principal, handing out a packet with important information about the school will help visitors feel welcome.
Creating a warm and inviting school environment is the best way to welcome students back to school. Being kind and creating events that help build a community will make all visitors want to come back.
How does your school welcome students back? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. We would love to hear your ideas. You never know, you may inspire someone.