Back to School Night is an opportunity to welcome students and their families into the classroom to see what goes on firsthand. Creating an evening of new friendships, educational endeavors and future goals for the year is an exciting way to get everyone involved with preschool instruction. By holding an event that captures what your preschool is all about, a connection is made between learning at home and learning in school. Education is best absorbed when teachers and parents are able to reinforce each other’s efforts. The best way to do this is to create a union of trust and commitment through understanding.
As a preschool teacher, you have the special task of not only setting up a plan for a successful year but also introducing parents to the school routine for their children. For many families, the first preschool Back to School Night can be incredibly eye-opening and even a little nerve-wracking, especially if it’s their oldest child in attendance. By creating a welcoming environment, you’ll help parents become familiar with the expectations for both them and their child while also showcasing their child’s educational opportunities in preschool.
Use this guide to prepare a successful Back to School Night presentation for parents and students.
Back to School Night Idea for Preschool
Getting Started: Plan out the 5 W’s.
Why: To welcome students and families to the new school year.
When: Usually a week or two after school starts on the evening of a weekday.
Where: Meet up in the classroom.
Who: Invite students and parents or guardians.
What: Provide an opportunity for parents to experience a typical preschool day.
Setting up: Display decorations.
Keep decorations simple. Although you want to create a fun and inviting atmosphere, you do not want to take away from the actual classroom. Have a welcoming table in the lobby or as soon as you walk into the class, if space allows. Have a few balloons and blank nametags for everyone to fill out and wear, including you!
Waiting: Keep families engaged while everyone arrives.
Encourage children to show parents around their new classroom. Projects from previous school days should already be hanging and on display. This will give parents an opportunity to see what their child has been working on and share in their excitement. Parents and students also have the chance to mingle with other young learners and their families, encouraging new friendships.
You may also want to arrange for the students to work on a Back to School preschool craft during this time. The activity will allow parents to see them in action in their classroom. Consider having them make a preschool gift for parents in attendance, like a drawing or a beaded necklace. This craft can also help to keep students occupied during the next steps listed here.
Welcoming: Give a short introduction.
All the preschoolers and some parents already know who you are, so there is no need to talk about yourself in length. After introducing yourself, welcome families to the classroom and let everyone know how excited you are for this new school year. Begin with an overall summary of daily routines, schedules and activities. Explain, in short, future plans, goals and expectations for the year. Finally, conclude with a transition into how children spend their day.
Exploring: Describe a day in the life of a preschooler.
Take parents on a journey through the eyes of their toddler. Act as if they are the students, and move parents along as you would their children. Students will be excited to help with this part of the night as they or you lead their parents around to their personal cubbies, circle time parking spots, individual napping mats and favorite places at the learning table.
Wrapping it up: Conclude the evening.
Thank everyone for coming. Hand out flyers or pamphlets that include everything you have already gone over, but provide more detail. Include rules and regulations of the classroom, what’s expected of the students, and how misbehavior will be handled. Attach a school year calendar that provides information about upcoming school events, trips and activities. Provide a volunteer form for parents to return if they are interested in volunteering during the year. Additionally, include your contact information, including a phone number and email address.
Questions: Offer a short Q&A session.
Finally, see if parents or students have any questions. Try to focus on general inquiries that relate to preschool classroom and student body as a whole. Suggest that questions concerning a particular student’s needs or progress can be answered either after the event, through email or phone at a later date, or on a day of a parent/teacher conference.
This piece was originally published in 2015.