This is such an exciting time of year - all around the world millions of children are getting ready for their first day of ‘big school.’ (And if they have a uniform, we can be sure they’re popping it on at every opportunity!).
Of course, millions of teachers are also behind the scenes, getting ready to welcome these little ones into their classrooms. It’s only natural that many children will feel nervous and unsure, so what can we do to help them feel welcome? So glad you asked, metaphorical reader!
Here are three of my favourite tips for introducing yourself to your students. And the best part is, these tips count whether your students are in their first year or final year of school.
Nothing says welcome like a little rainbow decor!
Create a Meet the Teacher Flyer
One super simple way to introduce yourself to your students and parents is to create a ‘Meet the Teacher’ flyer. This gorgeous letter can be emailed or posted before the school year starts, so the students can get a sense of the (amazing!) teacher they’re about to meet.
Miss Zienter and Ms Riso got the memo with their Boho Rainbow templates. Gorgeous images via @misszandthefirsties @teachingwithms.riso.
My ‘Meet the Teacher’ templates are available in a range of different designs and aesthetics to match your overall classroom theme. In the flyer I’ve made space to list some facts about you, your favourite things and a meaningful quote, but you can really take it in any direction. They’re fully editable (no fancy software required - Powerpoint will do!) so you can communicate the things that are important to you.
This is always one of my favourite things to make - that’s the Boho Rainbow collection on the left, and my new Boho Plants collection on the right!
As a fun bonus, why not send a blank copy for your student to fill out and return to you! It’ll give you a head start on knowing them, and they’ll love that you’re excited to meet them too. Just change the heading to ‘My name is’ and you’re good to go!
Host a Meet and Greet
Another popular idea at many schools is to host a ‘meet the teacher’ evening where parents and students come in to meet you. These can be a little nerve-wracking the first few times, but BFF - I’ve got your back!
Talk about a warm welcome - SUCH a stunning space from @miss_grosse_!
My biggest tip is to prepare a fantastic slideshow to kick off the evening. Use it to introduce yourself, share your values and provide and insight into the kind of teacher they’re entrusting their kid’s ones to. Share details of what parents and students can expect from you, and really use it as a chance to start building trust with the children and parents.
Absolutely adore the way your slideshow matches your decor, @miss_grosse_!
I have a range of different Google Slides templates that work perfectly for this, and they just so happen to match my classroom decor ranges. These little details - like a cohesive aesthetic and slide decks with a little extra personality - can really showcase the effort, care and attention you bring to your work.
No matter your aesthetic, there are Google Slides to match!
The slide templates are completely customizable, so you can photos, videos, illustrations or anything you like. Approach this kind of session as an investment - the more you can reassure parents that their children are in great hands, the more you can avoid situations where they may otherwise assume the worst. A little extra effort now may just prevent a few of those kind of emails later!
Love the Boho Vibes in these shots. Right hand image via the wonderful @firstieswithmissm.
After your slideshow you’ll likely have a Q&A session, or time to mingle with the parents 1:1. So, I’d recommend having some fun play stations ready to occupy the children. Now I’m not talking about PlayStations (though I’m sure the kids would love that!) but little discovery setups that encourage tangible play-based learning. Set up sensory stations where they can dig for hidden ‘bones’, or reading nooks where they can curl up with a book.
The spaces we create form part of our first impressions - wouldn’t you feel so welcomed by @kelseyholloway’s reading nook, and @myteacherlibrarianlife’s Affirmation Station?
Clever, play-based learning stations present yet another opportunity for parents to see that they’ve won the teacher lottery with you.
Don’t you just love the brilliant play station via @teachingwithmissblechynden and the Boho Plant reading zone via @mrslanderlearns?
And much like sneaking veggies into kids’ dinners, you can even plant a fun little writing exercise to provide a benchmark for comparison later in the year.
Consider Personalised Accommodations
There are some really powerful actions you can take to support neurodivergent children before they start the school year, that will set you both up for success. One simple action is to invite the child and their parents to the classroom (perhaps right before the info night) and ask them to choose their own seat.
For Autistic children and children with ADHD, their position in the classroom can make a big difference to their comfort, ability to focus and their resultant performance. Similarly, seeking their input when choosing appropriate chairs, desks and sensory tools is really important.
When everything has a place? Magic happens. And when that place is beautiful? Even better!
I also find that labels are helpful for orienting children - whether it’s helping them find their chair, office supplies in a trolley, their reading group books or little stationery items.
A little real life label-inspo via @i_spy.mrs_i and the Boho Rainbow range!
These kind of simple accommodations show children (and parents) that they’re entering an inclusive, safe and tailored classroom. And there’s no better introduction than that!
I hope these tips help BFFs! Whether you’re brand new to teaching or a little more seasoned, it’s safe to say we all want to make a great first impression. Take a browse through my resources to see how I can help you save time, and if you get stuck, reach out via my socials - I’m always here to help!