First impressions count with parents, too. Good public relations at the beginning of the school year can improve parental support. Experienced teachers suggest it is a good idea to contact parents even before school starts. You can set a positive tone for the whole year by mailing a back-to-school kit to each child's parents. Include such things as:

  • A welcome letter to both child and parents or other caregivers. Tell parents they may make appointments to discuss special concerns or observe the classroom. (Explain that appointments will help you avoid interruptions during those critical first few days.) Also, ask parents to schedule children's medical appointments for after school or weekends whenever possible.
  • A form to return that lists home and office telephone numbers, emergency numbers, and the best times for you to reach parents by phone.
  • A request for room-parents and volunteers.
  • A form for writing out special instructions regarding medical and other considerations.
  • A copy of school policies.
  • A list of supplies students should bring the first day. This demonstrates to both parents and students that you mean to get down to learning right away.

With her back-to-school letter, first-grade teacher Susie Davis suggests that students bring something personal to go along with the beginning-of-the year theme. Teddy bears, for example. It's a "security blanket" of sorts that helps new students feel more confident, Davis explains.