Oh, how I remember my very first open house night…I was SO nervous! Getting the classroom set up, getting lesson plans done for the first day or two, and so on was all a breeze compared to the waiting….the waiting…for all the children AND their mom AND their dad AND their grandma AND their siblings running all over the place…and so on- I think you get the idea! After 7 years of open house, I still get a little nervous. Here’s a few tips to help you get through that night and meet YOUR objective- get a “snip-it” of the children you’ll be teaching for the next nine months!

Don’t over-do it!!
My first open house I had way too many gifts for the kids, an at-home back to school project, snacks, drinks, music, a million different forms for parents to pick up, sign up for, fill out, etc…AND I had this brilliant idea that I would have my very first “mini-conference” with each parent that came in…oh yeah, I sat down with them and actually wrote stuff and everything! For those of you that have been teaching for awhile, I hear your snickers! All of the previous stuff is WAAAAY too much! Looking back, I had great intentions, but I think it made people uncomfortable.

The best thing to do is to make it as simple as possible for all involved! Children want to come in, find their seat, get a prize, see if they have buddies in their class, say hi, and leave. Parents want their children to be comfortable, they want to get a quick “feel” of your personality (be yourself), they want to see what supplies they should buy, some want to let you know how they can help out, and there are a few who want to let you know way too much about their child! The best way to take care of all of this is to label the childrens’ seats, give them a small gift, and make packets (in large manilla folders) for parents to take home and look through. Include things like rules, schedules, expectations, procedures, teaching style, sign up forms for aiding in the classroom, transportation info., child information cards, and so on….Make a note on the front of the folder of what needs to be returned and what doesn’t. This ensures they will look through it… There will be one or two items they need to fill out at open house, but this makes it all run so much smoother.

They come it, say hi, see their seats, get their info, look around, and say so long! It’s as easy as that…AND you don’t have to clean up cookie crumbs, sort through the stacks of paper, turn off the music, and on and on and on. There will be a few who won’t even come in, so you can just hand them their packet on the first day of school!

Good luck! You will do great!

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