Hosting an Open House for Elementary Students
Important Steps for Preparation
Before the Open House:
Get the Word Out
It is important to disseminate information about the event at least a week prior to the open house so the parents can coordinate their schedules. Be creative in making invitations for the parents. For example, take a photo of the “Best Works” section of a bulletin board. Scan the photo, print it, and use it as the front cover of the card. Write a caption to grab the parents’ attention, such as “Your Child's a Work of Art” or “Awesome Child of Wonder." Inside of the card, write down all of the specific information about the open house including the date, time, venue, and program.
To make your classroom attractive and interesting for the parents, think of a theme to decorate the room. Adopt the theme from one of your current lessons, books read in class, the season, or your class’ favorite TV programs. Use posters and art made by the students which relate to the theme. Make sure that the decorations are sturdy enough so that they do not fall off of the wall prior to the event.
Schedule the Activities
Plan a schedule of all the activities for the open house. Prepare a chart for the time and the expected activities; this will serve as a guide to stay on track. When you have finalized the specifics of the program, create a PowerPoint presentation of the objectives for the open house, activities to be covered, and the curriculum.
During the Open House
Provide a Warm Welcome
Make sure to greet each attendee as they enter the classroom. When everyone is seated, present a short AVP (Audio-Video Presentation) prepared to give the families a glimpse of what to expect at the open house. It can be a music video set to a collection of still photos of each student doing an activity in class, inspiring quotes to brighten up the atmosphere and a short video of students saying, "welcome, dear parents" or even an original song created and performed by the students.
Break the Silence
Start off with an icebreaker activity to lighten up the mood. To make it even more fun, let them do some of the activities or games done by the students in class, so that they can also get an idea of what their children do while in school.
Agenda for the Day
Use the created PowerPoint presentation to present the agenda. Make sure that each slide is simple, yet informative for the attendees. From time to time, invite them to share their opinions about the objectives, activities, and the curriculum.
Parents are curious about the activities their students do while at school. It is enriching for them to see snapshots or videos of their children performing tasks in class. While the parents are socializing, run a continuous video of the “students in action” for each subject or class that they have.
After the presentations and discussions about the class and curriculum, provide time for the attendees to mingle with one another and fill up on refreshments. This is also a perfect opportunity for them to approach you if there is a need for a one-on-one conference about their child.
After the Open House:
Handmade gifts are good tokens of appreciation for the attendees’ effort in coming to the open house. Ideas include crafts or food items made by the students such as cookies, sandpaper art, a thank you card, or a framed pressed flower and so on.
Through an open house, the parents get to discover how their children are thriving in class. It is also an opportunity to discuss matters of concern for both the teacher and the parents. With your creativity, enthusiasm, and effort, the parents will come away with learning about you and the environment where their children are learning.