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Ideas/examples of how to welcome/integrate new students (and their parents) to a school

(12 Posts)
Earlybird Wed 23-Jul-08 13:31:57

DD changed schools last year, and IMO, the school did a poor job of introducing/integrating her into the school/her new class. Obviously, it was a huge change for her and it could have (and should have) been handled much better.

I found parents of other new students seemed to feel the same. We also (as parents) felt 'out of the loop' with the extra curricular and informal side of school life - the sorts of things that make you say 'I wish I had known about that earlier as we'd like to have signed up/taken part'.

The school readily acknowledge this is an area that needs attention/change, and has asked for some recommendations about how to improve.

I would be grateful for any real life experiences of how your dc's school introduces new students, and helps them (and the parents) make a successful transition to a new academic and social setting. Would like to hear about traditional entry point integration, and also what is done for new students who start in 'odd' years.

marialuisa Wed 23-Jul-08 13:41:14

DD's school has lots of kids starting at non-standard times. Extra-curricular stuff and other info is handled by the non-teaching head of primary and there is also a short but useful handbook which is given to all parents of new starters. Children have settling-in visits before they start which help too.

DD's school is small and there is a lot of contact between parents and staff which helps a great deal IMO (DD started at a non-standard time)but means their informal style may not be so good for a bigger school.

Earlybird Wed 23-Jul-08 13:43:55

marialuisa - thanks for feedback. Can you elaborate on exactly what happens on a settling in visit? How old is your dd?

Litchick Wed 23-Jul-08 14:06:57

Our school has lots of leavers and new starters because many parents do stints working abroad etc and we, the parents, always make huge efforts.
The newbie will often come for an introduction day when they have a full day in school. Another child is given the task of being their 'buddie'.
Each class has a 'representative parent' and the school will ofen pass the contact details of the new family to them - they can then arrange a get together or at least circulate the details so other families can contact them and invite them over.
By the time they start they should have met a few kids and parents.

Whizzz Wed 23-Jul-08 14:16:39

At transition between primary & secondary - Yr 6 pupils have 2 days in school (loosely in their forms - although they don't know it). Those on the SEN reg who may have more problems settling in - come in for an extra 2 days. Teachers do mini lessons with them, they tour the school, see all facilities etc. Given loads of info to take home.

I don't think I've heard any grumbles about that. However if you start mid year, you wouldn't get any of that - it would be 'in at the deep end'. Students are given a buddy to follow & then their own timetable & info pack about the school in general

Earlybird Wed 23-Jul-08 16:02:07

I've heard of extensive introduction/settling in schemes for private school students - games afternoon, tea party, bowling, etc. Anyone know specifics - and were they positive experiences?

amicissima Wed 23-Jul-08 16:18:15

When DS started primary the Headteacher was in the playground as we came in and introduced us to each other eg: 'Mrs A this is Mrs B, she lives three streets away from you' etc. At least it gave us the chance to turn to each other and say 'that was nice'!

LIZS Wed 23-Jul-08 16:20:35

We joined established grousp when ds was starting Year 3(about 10 new) and dd Reception (but one of only 2 in her class who didn't come from the nursery). Newbies are invited to the session at the end of the year with new class/teacher and older ones(7+) will have already spent a day in school before then. Over the summer each child attended a class/year get together which helped organsied by the Class Rep.

However it still took us a while to find things out tbh. We had official information sessions beforehand and at the start of term but as you say the more anecdotal tips tended to pass us by.

Since we joined the school has put together a manual which has closed some of those gaps.

Earlybird Wed 23-Jul-08 16:47:42

Lizs - what sort of summer get togethers were organised by class reps? Were there activities, and if so, what? Looking for specific practical ideas, as well as overview ideas.

LIZS Wed 23-Jul-08 17:22:14

ds' class had an afternoon at class rep's house, with a treasure hunt and play/tea for mums. dd's was picnic in school grounds just before term started - tbh this was quite confusing as several classes did the same, including bringing siblings whcih was distracting, and noone really introduced themselves because the majority already knew each other.

Earlybird Wed 23-Jul-08 21:02:03

Hmm - seems these events can be effective only if handled correctly.

Would love to hear thoughts from any teachers/school admin people too.

Bink Wed 23-Jul-08 21:18:59

EB! (Have we missed you in London? - do drop an email if you still have it and you are around in early August? We're here till 15th)

As you know ... dd joined her school last September, one of only 2 new girls in her year of c.60 children. I think it was handled extremely well, and very appropriately for her.

On the first day, I took her in, and was quite astonished by all the other mothers surging up to me with their hands out ready to shake - a welcome like nothing I've seen anywhere else, even in the business world. So it started well.

Then, according to dd, at the start of class there was a round-robin, with everyone saying something to introduce themselves specially for her (something about what they liked) - and she stood up and said "My name's X and I like - REALLYFASTROLLERCOASTERS grin" Which was a nice ice-breaker.

Then, at break (still on first day here!) dd said "I was walking around the playground by myself, and a girl came up and said 'Would you like someone to play with?'" At the time I thought this was luck (and lovely good manners) but with hindsight I am quite sure this particular sensible, thoughtful girl had been primed to watch out for dd & make sure she wasn't lonely. (The two of them are now the fastest of friends.)

In the first few days, the first party invitation came out - and it was a whole-class invitation, with a special phone call to me to say they hoped dd would come. It might have been a whole-class party anyway, but I should think some thought may well have been put into the effect (at that point) of not having a whole-class party ...

The simple point of all this is that the welcome was INSTANT - all of it within the very first days, so that there was no possibility of even a moment's feeling lost or left out: it was hitting the ground running. I think that was the crux of the success.

(Term has just ended, and dd had a bit of a cry on the last day, because she loves it there SO MUCH.)

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