A lot of preparation goes into planning an open house. Whether it's held before school starts or after, these ideas will help you prepare for an open house or a meet the teacher night that is a fun experience for your students and that isn't too stressful for you.
Meet the Teacher Open House Ideas
Many open houses are held before school starts to allow students to meet their teachers and visit the school and classroom. Use these ideas if your preschool open house is scheduled before the school year starts. You can use some of these ideas for an open house held after school starts too.
Parents and students will most likely be notified of the open house when they register for the school year. However, a personal invitation from you will make the children more comfortable when they arrive at the open house. A phone call to each student a few days before the open house to introduce yourself and to remind the students about the open house doesn't take long and goes a long way toward establishing a good relationship with both parents and students. If possible try to speak to each child as well as his parents. If you can't make phone calls, then send a postcard to each family inviting them to the open house.
Post a class list and a class schedule for the students and their parents to view. They'll want to see who is their class and what you'll be doing each day. Also provide name tags for the students so you can start learning their names as they explore the classroom.
Send the children and their parents on a scavenger hunt around the room to help them become familiar with the classroom. Provide a list of things for them to find like their cubbies, coat hooks, the class library, the art center, restrooms, etc.
Provide an easy activity for the children to do with their parents. It could be something as simple as drawing a picture of themselves or their families. Display their pictures on the first day of school.
Give each student a sentence strip with her name on it to decorate with crayons. Laminate the sentence strips and use them for an easy activity to have students practice name recognition at the beginning of the school year. Each morning spread the names out on a table and have each student find her name and place it in a box or basket when she enters the classroom.
Provide sign up sheets for volunteers, a place for the parents to tell you how their student will get home each day (bus, car rider, etc.), and information about lunch, PTA, your classroom policies. It is also helpful to send home a parent survey so that they can tell you a little about their children. Ask a few questions about the children's strengths and weaknesses, daily schedules, the parents expectations and concerns. This is a great way for you to start to get to know your class a little better and for parents to share anything that they'd like you to know about their children.
During the School Year
If your preschool open house occurs during the school year these ideas for teachers will ensure that it is a success.
If your open house is only for parents where you are expected to speak to the whole group at once and go over policies and procedures, talk with other preschool teachers about having the all of the preschool parents meet in one place to start the night. Then split up the topics to cover and have each teacher prepare her part to share with parents. This can make the night a lot less stressful since you have less to say and have the support of your colleagues. It also allows the parents to see that you work as a team and have similar policies. After the initial talk have the parents go to individual classrooms for other activities.
Let your students help your prepare for open house. Spend a few minutes straightening up the room and arranging any papers or art work that you will be leaving out for their parents to view.
Display some student work for the parents to see. If you have science notebooks or writing journals leave those out too. Also provide paper so that the parents can leave their students a short note or picture, if the children are not at open house. They'll love seeing these the next day at school.
Take many pictures of the students working and playing the first weeks of school and put them into a slide show on the computer or projected onto a screen, so that the parents can see what their children do each day.
Leave your centers open with instructions for each. If the children accompany their parents to open house encourage them to show their parents what to do at each center.
Make open house a time for the parents to get to know you and their children's activities at school. Do not discuss individual student concerns during open house. Provide a sign-up sheet for parents who want to schedule a conference to talk about any issues their child may be having.
These ideas are meant to make your open house fun for everyone involved! Do you have any further ideas? Let us know in the comments.