1 Let parents know that their child's artwork will be coming home soon. They'll appreciate the extra time to prepare a storage or display area.

2 Begin sending work home one month early. This advance planning will help you avoid having to rush during the last week of school.

3 Organize the work in meaningful ways. Art can be organized by theme, medium, or project to help parents better understand what their child has been exploring.

4 Collect containers for safe transport. Have children bring in paper towel tubes and shoe boxes. To protect the artwork during the trip home, place clay creations and other three-dimensional items in the boxes and roll easel paintings to fit into the tubes.

5 Make art bags for the largest projects. Have children write their names on large grocery bags and decorate them any way they like. Let children use these "art bags" to transport large, bulky items. Have them return the bags for reuse.

Tip for Parent Communication

You're sending children's creations home, but don't stop there! Use the experience as a springboard for communicating with parents about how their child has progressed this year - and how they can help extend the learning over the summer. If a child has been painting increasingly detailed self-portraits, for example, you might attach a note to a recent project and explain the significance of her accomplishment from a developmental standpoint. You might also suggest that the parents make various paints available so the child can continue her exploration at home.