Open house is an exciting time! It’s the first time families, and students see the classroom. It’s when students and parents meet the teacher for the first time. It can be a stressful, awkward, and anxious event for everyone, including even a seasoned teacher. I’m here to share ideas on quick, easy ways to begin building positive relationships and develop a plan for a fun, no-stress event that everyone can enjoy. Make sure you grab all the freebies and open house printables in this post too!
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The table! Set up a table with things families will need. If you have desks or student spots, you can place each student’s items on their desk or spot. On the table are folders, an open house scavenger hunt, a treat for students, pens, and post-it notes. Then type or write what families need to do at the table. This way, if you are talking with one family, other families know what to do, and they don’t have to wait.
FREE Editable Open House Scavenger Hunt! Create a scavenger hunt for families to do to help get to know the classroom and morning routine. This gives families something to do, a way to get to know the classroom and practice what to do on the first day of school. This was a game-changer for me and for the first day of school. Families walk in on the first day with confidence because they know the routine.
What’s in the open house folder? I create a folder for each family with handouts to help them get to know the classroom, our routines, our rules, our procedures, and what to expect this school year.
- event calendar
- Class Rules parent note and mini rules poster (these are other class rules options)
- handout about Green and Red Choices (our behavior management system)
- our daily schedule with what students are learning (editable freebie)
- Meet the Teacher and Meet the Team information page
- Getting to Know You student information page for families to fill out and return (freebie)
- Gift Ideas handout (freebie)
- Family Handbook and other forms I had to have to be a state-licensed home preschool
Student Treats and FREE Tags! Give each student a yummy treat and attach a cute little tag as a fun gift at open house.
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Practice Morning Routine! Put all the things students do during the morning routine on the class scavenger hunt. Families and students can practice it during open house. Students feel much more secure on the first day of school since they will know what to do and where things are. The student’s morning routine is to put stuff away in their cubby, answer the Question of the Day, sign in, say bye to their family, and do the table time activity.
For the sign-in, students will sign their names in at their level. Some students will be scribbling, some will be writing some letters, and some may write their whole names. You can read more about how my students sign in each day HERE.
Family Sign-In and Family Board! On the scavenger hunt, I have families find the sign-in and check to make sure their child’s name is spelled correctly. Names are so important, and I want to make sure every child’s name is spelled correctly. This also gives families a chance to notice the family bulletin board. This is where I keep important information for them all year long.
Center Activities! I want the child to do a quick, simple activity at each center, and I do this for two reasons. One for the student to be able to play in each center. Two, so families know the names of the centers and can see some of the activities in each center. Students learn through play, and I want families to see what kinds of activities students could be doing in each center.
Put AWAY messy activities for open house! You may have siblings at open house, which means even more people in your small classroom. I LOVE having them see their sibling’s classroom, but I put away all slime, play dough, and paint for open house. Just so there is less mess for me to clean up after open house is over.
Practice Hand Washing! Yes, I have students wash their hands as an item on the classroom scavenger hunt! This item is so important that students can practice another classroom routine before the first day. Also so parents know that students should be able to wash their hands and use the bathroom independently.
Family Photos and Name Tags! At the end of the scavenger hunt, I take each family’s photo! I use the photos for student name tags. Students can wear their family necklaces so they can keep their families close to their hearts if they miss them or when they are sad. You can read all about how I make family necklaces HERE.
All About Us Class Book Page! Sometimes I have students pick a page for our favorite class book, All About Us!, at open house (sometimes I do it on the first day of school). At the table, I set out various colors of cardstock with a directions page. Students can choose any color they want for their page. I set my page out as an example.
Bulletin Boards! Many of the bulletin boards or walls are blank in my classroom because it is where I put student work or projects we do together. These FREE “Under Construction: Waiting for Student Work” signs are perfect to place on your boards, so families know that space is for their child’s work and projects.
First Day of School Prep! After open house, I make sure I have things ready for the first day of school because it can be a crazy day. These FREE Cool Cat First Day of School Certificates are perfect to send home on the first day. I print them on blue paper and write each student’s name on them, so they are ready to go. Grab them HERE.
I also print and cut out these First Day of School Hats for students to color and wear on the first day. Students can use markers, crayons, or paint sticks to color the hats. You could also print them on colored paper just for students to wear.
I hope these ideas and hacks make your open house less stressful and an event you can enjoy with your new families and students. You can check out my other favorite classroom hacks HERE.
Do you need lesson plans and activities for back-to-school? Check out THIS post with FREE lesson plans for the first 10 days of school!
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