Back to School Night is one of the most important events of the school year. Parents have a chance to see their child’s learning environment and ask questions about the curriculum. Meanwhile, teachers are able to talk about their teaching methodology, share student successes, and get parents more involved. Establishing a parent-teacher relationship is essential in today’s fast-paced world. In this guide, we’ve shared five common-sense strategies for making Back to School Night a success.
At least a few weeks before Back to School Night, we recommend emailing a welcome letter to families, so you can prepare them for the school year. Start by introducing yourself, sharing your goals for the curriculum, and providing an overview of classroom rules. If possible, you should make the message colorful and fun, using a free tool like Canva or Smore. This will allow you to embed images and class worksheets directly into the message.
To hold parents’ attention and provide as much information as possible, you should plan a thoughtful presentation for Back to School Night. Break the ice by sharing your backstory, including a few family photos and fun facts about yourself.
Then, explain your approach to teaching and highlight any major activities that students will be participating in during the year. For example, if you plan on hosting a big field trip or having students volunteer in the community, you should highlight these events. Finally, you can walk parents through a student’s “day in the life”, from morning activities to homework assignments.
When you’ve finished the presentation, answer as many parent questions as possible. If you run out of time, you can implore parents to add their question on an interactive website like Padlet. This way, parents can see all of the questions and answers without logging in. Meanwhile, you can prepare a short survey for parents to fill out at school, with questions about their child’s strengths, needs, and any other details they’d like to mention.
Depending on the Back to School event, some parents will bring their children to the classroom, which can be extremely boring for them. While the teacher is chatting about administrative tasks, the kids are falling asleep in their chairs. To avoid this, you can create a play area for students to stay entertained. If that starts to get too rowdy, you can send students on a scavenger hunt around the classroom and offer a prize to the first-place winner.
Lastly, you can make students feel more comfortable in the classroom by asking their parents to write a brief note to their kids. Collect these notes on Back to School Night when students are out of earshot, so that they don’t know what’s happening. Then, on the first day of school, you can place these notes in their desks for a wonderful surprise.