Back to School Night
What is Back to School Night?
Back to School Night usually happens a few days before school starts or right after the first couple of days of school. The school sends out a back to school night flyer to inform the parents of the date and time. It is a chance for parents and students to meet the teachers, see the classroom, and learn about the different programs the school offers. This is the time teachers let their students and students’ parents know about the expectations for the school year. It is also a great time to meet other families and start to make friends. Before going into individual classrooms to meet the teachers, the school usually puts on back to school night activities for the families. If you will be doing back to school night virtually, read below for some great tips.
If you are a teacher and are looking for back to school night ideas to make sure it goes successful, you’ve come to the right place! Read on to get a back to school night agenda and to know exactly what to do when students and parents come into your classroom.
What Should Your Classroom Look Like?
Back to School Night is a special night for students and families and the classroom should be neat and prepared for students to come to school. However, we always made sure not to have too many items out on our shelves that students would want to play with. You want students to get familiar with your classroom and see where things are. If you have new exciting looking things that kids would want to play with, sometimes they will get focused on these things instead of the classroom. We also didn’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning messes left by children. So, that means not a lot of math manipulatives were left on shelves, and we taped our playhouse closed and put a sign over it saying closed. This gives you time after school begins to tell students the rules of playing with things in the classroom before they just jump in. We did leave crayons and paper on each of the tables so kids had something to do while we spoke with the parents.
Back To School Night Ideas for Teachers
1. Class Expectations. We create a handout all about Kindergarten for our parents. It’s very detailed and has anything they might have questions about, from drop off and pick up to birthdays and field trips. Pass this out to parents when they first come in the room, so they can start looking it over. See the pictures below for an example of the handout we used.
2. Read a book. When students and parents first come into your room, invite the kids up close and have the parents stand behind. Then, read a book to the kids. As Kindergarten teachers, we always read Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten. This is about a teacher getting ready for school to start, a great way to get the kids excited about their first day.
3. Time to draw. Make sure you have paper and crayons on your tables or desks. After reading the book, send kids to your desks or tables and have them draw a picture. You could encourage them to draw a picture about what they are most excited about going to school. This gives you time to talk with the parents.
4. Back to School Night Presentation. We usually do a back to school night PowerPoint to share with our parents. We include a page with a few pictures of the teacher, so parents and kids can get to know a little about us. The rest of the pages are the most important bullets found in the school expectations handout. Sometimes, parents get so many handouts and they don’t always read them all. Use this time to discuss what is most important they know for this school year. We have created a Back to School Night Presentation template you can use for your presentation. It works on PowerPoint and Google Slides and can be edited to fit your needs.
5. Questions. Leave about 5 minutes at the end of each session for questions.
Virtual Back to School Night
Don’t fret, you can take your online presentation and present it virtually. Here are some tips that will help you through this new reality.
- A few days ahead of your scheduled back to school night, email parents the class expectations handout.
- We would suggest doing multiple sessions with smaller groups rather than your whole class. This will help to begin developing a relationships with your families. It also enables more time for questions.
- Start off by introducing yourself to the kids and their families. Read a kindergarten related book to get students excited about school starting.
- Address the parents. Show them the presentation you have prepared about your class information and expectations.
- Leave time for questions from the families.
- We would also suggest planning an additional meeting for the students to meet online. This could be done through a share activity. They could use a family picture, a drawing, a special toy, etc. to share a little about themselves. If they are shy, their parents could help them share.
We hope you found this helpful. Please leave us a comment if you have any questions and check out our back to school night templates for the Class Expectations handout and the back to school night presentation.