Starting a new school year can be both exciting and scary for students and their parents, especially in kindergarten. Because here’s the thing: it can be really hard for parents to leave their little ones in the care of someone else for 6.5+ hours a day and not have a clue about what goes on when they’re away. Sharing with parents as much as you can is a great way to start the school year on the right foot..but surprise, surprise, there’s never enough time to talk through it all on Open House Night!
A great solution is to offer up a classroom handbook filled with information at the beginning of the school year. It’s like throwing out a lifeline for those worried parents. It will instantly help them feel more at ease – because don’t we all feel better when we know more? When we make parents feel more at ease, we’re well on our way to building a solid partnership with them. In the end, that’s what we really want, isn’t it? To have a positive relationship with parents, just like the relationships we work so hard to build with our students each day.
A few years ago, I was fed up with trying to fit in (or remember) all the things I wanted to tell parents on Open House Night, so I decided to create The ABC’s of Our Classroom parent handbook. It gives an overview of the most important things I want them to know in the form of a 5-page ABC book. Now, let’s be honest: we could probably fill 15 pages with things we *think* they should know, but we have to draw the line somewhere…
Anyways, when I give out the handbook on Open House Night, I make sure to tell parents to read through every. single. word. JUST KIDDING! That’s a great way to shut parents down before the year even starts. Demanding that they do something (like read 5 pages of info about their child’s classroom, as fabulous as it may be) is probably not the best way to make parents feel like they’re entering into a partnership. My approach is a little more subtle: I hand it to them and let them know it has a lot of great information about how our classroom runs, and then I just leave it at that. If they’re interested, they’re going to read it…if not, I can’t force them. All I can do is cross my fingers and hope! And every year I get a few parents who comment on how nice it is to have all that information in one place, so to me that’s a win!
An added benefit to using The ABC’s of Our Classroom parent handbook is having classroom policies, procedures, and expectations in writing. This can help clarify any questions or concerns parents might have later in the year. Sometimes things come up – wouldn’t it be great to be able to point a parent right back to the handbook?
So, if you’re like me and want to start the year on the right foot with parents, why not give The ABC’s of Our Classroom Editable Parent Handbook a try? You’ll love how easy it is to edit and make your own, and families will appreciate your effort! Click on the photo below to check it out in my TpT store.