- Photos of your home, family and any pets
- A picture your child made for the teacher
- Set up your visit. Contact your school to find out when teachers will be in school before classes start. See if you need to make an appointment to meet the teacher or you can just drop in.
- Test out the route. No matter how your child will be getting to school (walking, being driven, riding the bus), try out the route for your visit, pointing out crosswalks, bus stops and landmarks along the way.
- Meet the teacher. Spend a few minutes touring the classroom and getting to know the teacher. Have your child give the teacher his drawing and show her the photos you've brought to break the ice. Ask any questions you and your child may have about rules, routines, curriculum, contact info and so on. For example, does your child need to bring anything on the first day of school? What's the best way to communicate with her over the coming year? Is there a class website? How can you help out over the coming year?
- Check out the books. Is there a class bookshelf or school library? Has your child read any of the books already? Explore what books they'll be reading in the first few weeks.
- View the bulletin boards. Talk about the displays on the walls. Ask, What's in the pictures? What will you be learning about?
- Go on a scavenger hunt. Can your child spot the following: a flag, a pencil, a chalkboard, a poster, a desk, a computer, a bulletin board, a window, a wastebasket, a clock, markers, lockers or cubbies, a class pet, a water fountain?
- Explore the playground. Test out the seesaw and whiz down the slide. Give the tire swing a whirl.
- Investigate. Ask your child these questions:
- How will you get to school?
- Do you remember your teacher's name?
- What did you like best about your classroom?
- Where's the bathroom?
- Where do you eat lunch (or snack)?
- Where will I pick you up? Or where do you get on the bus?
- What things do you think you're going to learn this year?
- Read all about it. Check out David Goes to School by David Shannon, If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff, The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton and Starting School by Allan Ahlberg.
For more exploring, play Dora's Great Big World game, find do-together Dora crafts, recipes, and activities, and print a personalized Explorer Kit for your child at DoraTheExplorer.com.
Thanks to Susan Hood
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