Good communication is the key to any successful relationship. Establishing a positive relationship with your child’s teacher in September can improve your child’s learning experience for the entire school year and it can help create transparency and consistency between home and the classroom. One way to initiate good parent-teacher communication is to send your child’s teacher a letter on the first day of school. Sending a “first day of school” letter is an opportunity to introduce the teacher to you and your child, and share the essential details the teacher needs to know in order to make your student feel welcome and supported.
This letter can be simple; it doesn’t have to be long and it can be an especially useful tool if your child is starting at a new school or if they require accommodation and understanding because of learning differences or other specific needs. A first day of school letter can also let the teacher know if you’re available to volunteer in the classroom. It can ask essential questions, or help ensure that your child’s classroom teacher knows how best to contact you. If your family is in a situation with shared custody or other unique scheduling or caregiver arrangements, you can craft your letter to make all these details clear. Here are some things to keep in mind when writing a back to school letter:
- Keep it friendly!
- If your goal is to establish a positive relationship with your child’s teacher, then taking a friendly and open tone is key. To help with this, Access Learning has created a .pdf document with some suggested phrases and questions to get you started! (Please see the attached file at the end of this post!)
- Keep it brief.
- Teachers have so many things going on during the first few days of school. Your message will have a greater impact if it’s concise and to the point. If there’s too much to put on one page, consider arranging a meeting or scheduling a phone call to discuss your questions or concerns in greater detail.
- Include only what’s essential.
- As you draft your letter, think about what information is essential to convey and what you can talk about with your child’s teacher at a later date. Is it important for them to know that your child has an IEP or a learning difference? Do you want them to be aware of specific triggers your student has? Is your main goal to offer your time as a volunteer in the classroom? Be sure that the key messages come through in your writing.
Opening the door to effective communication with teachers and school administrators can help connect them with what’s happening at home and connect you with what’s happening at school. This kind of a holistic approach to working with your child can help everyone feel more informed and more excited about the learning your child is doing.
Happy first day of school to everyone from the Access Learning team. We hope you and your child start the school year off feeling great!