Learning how to write a welcome letter to preschool parents is a crucial exercise for any early education teacher. The beginning of the year communication sets the tone for the entire school year, and it primes parents either for a year of involvement or a year of a hands-off approach.
Great Communication Starts Right Away
There are many factors that make up successful communication with parents of your preschool students. Some things you could try are a website, a newsletter, and other tools to keep parents involved in the goings on. Yet in order to keep fanning the flames of interest, the preschool teacher needs to get the fire going in the first place, and this is where the welcome letter comes in.
At the beginning of the year there is excitement and not yet the rut that will set in soon enough for parents and kids alike. Parents are excited, as are the children, and the savvy teacher will capitalize on these overall feelings of goodwill and enthusiasm by setting the tone for the year ahead with a letter to the parents.
An Effective Welcome Letter
In the past you could have just said “dear parents," but in a time of multifaceted family dynamics, consider changing your greeting to “dear parents, grandparents, and extended family."
Reinforce their decision of enrolling the child in your preschool.
Preschool is the child’s first academic experience, and parents want to know that they made the right decision. You may reinforce their decision in one or two sentences by expressing your gratitude for their choosing your preschool and highlighting the excellent program, caring staff, and good reputation the venue has.
In three sentences or less, introduce yourself by name, how long you have been a preschool teacher, where you received your education, and what your teaching philosophy is.
Provide a schedule and phone numbers.
Next, let your readers know what the children’s daily schedule looks like, and what the important phone numbers are. This makes the letter valuable and may get it placed onto the refrigerator.
Add rules and procedures reminders.
If this is your first year at this school, ask other seasoned teachers or the principal about the most common complaints preschool teachers might have, or which rules and regs need to be repeated most often. Add them on the letter just to reinforce the parents’ knowledge, but do not repeat the school’s manual verbatim.
Disclose monthly themes and identify parent helpers.
Now is also a good time to identify potential parent helpers. In this section of the letter you would outline the plan for the year, the themes you will be covering, the subject matter that is most likely going to be covered, and also any outstanding projects to which you want to draw the parents’ attention. Ask parents to sign up for help during one of the months.
Close and tear-off section.
Finish the letter with a sincere note of thanks and a personal signature. Below your signature, create a tear-off section that parents need to cut off, sign, date, and return to you. In this section you want to make sure you get a signature and date that evidences the parents read and understood the information you sent, and also request a sign up for any one month during which the parent wants to help out. Ask the parents to sign up for at least one month but no more than three; this creates an expectation to participate and sets the tone for the rest of the year.
A welcome letter to preschool parents is only the first step. Even if the response to your call for volunteers is less than overwhelmingly enthusiastic, follow up on the initial communication with an end of the first month letter that outlines all that was accomplished and that gives your parents one or more concrete areas of involvement. This reinforces your ongoing attempt at communicating with parents, and also restates your expectation.