I am in the process of writing my first welcome letter to parents and I am not quite sure what needs to go in it. I would love to see an example of what other teachers send to their parents. I'm a rookie so any help would be wonderful!
Here is my welcome letter to my parents:
Welcome to 1st grade! First grade is an exciting time as children embark upon new adventures in the world of learning. This is a year of important transitions, as well as one in which acquisition of new skills is accelerated. During first grade, your child will learn how to read, write stories, add, subtract, and so much more. I hope to make your child’s learning experience a fun and exciting one, and I hope to instill a love of learning that will last throughout your child’s years of schooling.
So much happens in First Grade! Because of this, the year will be full of important transitions. It is extremely important to keep in mind that we all build on small successes. Each child will progress at his/her own rate, acquiring skills as he/she is developmentally ready. Maintaining each child's self-esteem and building a secure foundation for future growth will always remain a priority in our first grade. Here are some ways you can help:
• Celebrate your child's success, no matter how small it may seem. This will keep your child enthusiastic about learning and proud of their work!
• Read to and with your child everyday, if possible. The more your child is exposed to language, the easier it will be for him/her to incorporate new skills in reading and writing in the classroom. Remember to record all reading in your child's reading log.
I am looking forward to a working with your child this year and helping him/her to achieve his/her full potential. Through the remainder of this letter, I will share some of my beliefs and classroom policies.
I believe that a good parent-teacher relationship is necessary for maximum school success. Throughout the year I will communicate with you through notes, telephone calls, quarterly reports and parent-teacher conferences. I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions or concerns at any time. You can call me at school (407-249-6360), send me a note or e-mail me. I am available for conferences regarding your child’s progress from 7:30 a.m. to 7:50 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. by appointment on school days. If you are interested in helping in the classroom, on field trips, or would like to eat lunch with your child at school, you must fill out a volunteer form (this is the school’s rule).
If you are interested in having a birthday party for your child in school, I ask that you inform me at least a week in advance. Cupcakes are great, but full cakes are not. Birthday parties are held at the end of the day.
Changes in Transportation
If you plan to pick up a child that normally rides the bus or you wish for your child to ride a different bus than usual, you must send a written note. Do not rely on your child to tell me this information, because children often become confused and relay messages incorrectly. If no written note is received, your child will be sent home by his/her usual method of transportation.
• There will be a daily folder sent home each day. Any papers placed on the left side of the opened folder should be “left” at home and any papers on the right side should come “right” back to me. If your child is buying lunch for the week, please place money in an envelope with your child’s name and my name on it and place it in the right side of the daily folder.
• Your child will also have a daily planner that he or she will write in each day. Please take the time and go over the planner with your child and initial your name in the small box for the correct day (this is a great communication bridge between school and home). If the daily planner is lost, please purchase another one through the office for $6.00.
Homework is given on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday every week. All homework is due on Friday or the last day of the week (if your child fails to turn in 5 or more homework assignments during a 9-week period, it will be documented in the report card).
Establishing good classroom discipline is essential to each child’s success, confidence and well-being. Every child should feel that the classroom environment is safe and secure; free from all threats of physical or emotional harm. In addition, it is important that each child learn to develop self-discipline and good work habits, to resolve conflicts peacefully, and to think independently. For these reasons, the discipline plan I have chosen has several components.
• First, the children will learn the purpose of classroom rules and develop the idea that our classroom is a community with the common purpose of learning, growing and becoming friends. Our classroom rules will protect each student’s right to safety and respect, as well as, outlining the responsibilities that each child has in maintaining class order. Here are the rules that each child will have to follow in the classroom:
1. Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself.
2. Always raise your hand and ask permission to do something.
3. Treat others with kindness.
4. Follow directions
• The second facet of the discipline plan includes the logical consequences that will occur when class rules are broken. Examples of logical consequences include:
1st time: Warning
2nd time: Time out in the thinking chair
3rd time: Time off recess
4th time: Parent contact
5th time: Office referral
• Finally, (since we all like treats) your child will be rewarded through the following items:
1. A visit to the treasure box on Friday’s and in the treasure box they will be able to pick from:
• Free recess time coupon
• Free time on the computer coupon
• Positive note to parent coupon
• Small toys
2. Compliment chain (every time they receive a compliment, could be individual or as a class, they will receive a link on the chain and when it gets to the floor they get a popcorn or pizza party in class).
3. Positive feedback.
4. Daily positive board (each day, four students will be put on a list on the board throughout the day that exhibit the best transition form one lesson to another) at the end of the day those students on the board will get to pick one piece of candy from a bag.
Again, I look forward to teaching your child and working with you to help your child achieve their fullest potential. Please don’t hesitate to contact me:
We are no longer allowed to ask for supplies, so I can no longer include that in the letter. I also do not go too deeply into homework, classroom routines etc. in my Welcome Letter. Our Open House Night is in very early September (first 2 weeks of school) and that is when I give them my "Grade One Packet" of information. That Packet also includes my personal Mission Statement, rules that the class generates, classroom policies, routines, and philosiophies. Just from personal experience, I find it helpful to stagger the information... First Grade is a lot to adjust to for both parent AND child!
Anyway, I just wanted to give you some background as to why I include what I include...
Just my opinion, but I agree with Mrs R, that the welcoming letter is best kept short and sweet. Parents are easily overwhelmed by info overload on the first few days of school. Much information, though very important, like schedule, homework and discipline policy, etc can wait to go home at the end of the first week, at Open House, or in a newsletter. My best advice is to compose a short and easily read letter welcoming the class, introducing yourself (and contact numbers/times), and reminding parents when they'll be seeing you next, and when they'll get the other info. Keep it under a page or I'd be afraid the info you want to emphasize will be lost in a sea of paperwork.
*****We have open house one evening during the first week of school. Parents come, meet the teacher and look at the room.
Have an apple for everyone and share this poem. We have several apple trees. I don’t have to buy the apples.
An Apple for the teacher
Is really nothing new
Except when you remember
Parents are teachers too!
I put the apple in a popcorn sack with a bit of tissue paper.
Staple the poem to the sack.
I read over your welcome letter and found it very informative. You covered all the bases. I'm starting my 12th year teaching 1st grade and like to change and update my letter every few years to stay "Fresh and current". I plan to use part of your letter this year so THANKS!