Every year there are a handful of students who are new to your school. Depending on your community, it might be more than a handful. What do you do to welcome new students? Gretchen, Rebecca, and Kate share ways to welcome new students you may not have tried yet.
I like to have an informal lunch meeting where I invite new students and one old student. I started this when I was also new at a school and it ended up adding so much to the group. By the time they meet with me, they’ve already toured the school and done other intro activities with their class, so in our lunch we just chat and answer questions.
I also love the idea of sending welcome postcards to new students. I created an editable postcard if you’d like to try it! Send me a message and let me know how it worked.
Tours, Groups, Banners
We have a new student tour and orientation about 2 weeks before the school year starts. We present a short slideshow to parents, tour families around the school, and finish with a Popsicle treat. It is a great, non-threatening way to get to know new families.
I also meet with all new students in a small group (by grade level) during the second week of school. This allows students a bit of time to settle in before we meet and it is also beneficial because it helps new students see that they are not alone.
To welcome new students school-wide, I also create a banner display in our main hallway with each student’s name and photo. Read more about how I welcome new students in this blog post and download the FREE new student banners in the post.
Make Personal Connections
Connecting with new students and their families is one of my favorite things to do as an elementary school counselor. Similar to Kate, I join my principal in welcoming new students with their families during our new student orientation. It’s a brief, easygoing event the week before school starts.
Families receive a tour of the building, and important information is covered. During this time, I introduce myself and my role. I also take photos of the new students for a new student bulletin board. One thing that I began last year is to distribute small cards to each student that has the teacher’s name, photo, and room number on it.
My hope is that students will be able to recognize their teacher on the first day and be able to have at least one “familiar face.” I begin my new student lunch groups towards the end of the first week, and I run them for four weeks. At the conclusion of the group, I send a brief, personalized note home to each new family.
Check out these posts for more suggestions to support new students.
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