Back to School Introduction Tips

It is back to school time. Can I get a “woohoo” from any parents out there excited about this time of year? Each new year brings new children and adults who will have the opportunity to get to know our kiddos. Here are some ideas from parents about helping make this introduction process fun and positive.

Question and Answer Time

One idea is to ask the classroom teacher if you can take a few minutes in the class to tell a little bit about your child and answer questions. You can send a letter home telling parents that you will be doing this and encouraging them to talk to their children about questions they might have. The parents can then email you ahead of time with some question ideas. Another suggestion is to see if any of your child’s therapists or resource teachers would want to be a part of this time as well to help you answer questions.

Tootsie Pop Talk

One mom takes the opportunity each year to give a “Tootsie Pop Talk” to her child’s classroom. She brings in several books that highlight the concepts of same and different, but not better or worse. She also brings in tootsie pops that all have different colored wrappers and hard candy, but are all the same on the inside (tootsie). The wrappers represent the clothes – all different. The candy is like the skin – all different. But, the center is all the same. They ALL have the same center – like our hearts. We all need the same things. What a great illustration! She follows up this reading time by telling the kids about her daughter, starting with her eye color and personality traits and ending with diagnosis. Then the children have an opportunity to ask questions.

Books to Use

Here are a few book ideas, but there are many more that can be found in local libraries. The great mom with the tootsie pop talk idea suggests searching key words like:  physically handicapped – juvenile literature, diversity – juvenile literature, friendship – juvenile literature. Then look for the codes E (early reader) and BR (beginning reader) for age appropriate books for 1st graders.

A Very Special Critter – Gina and Mercer Mayer

Whoever You Are – Mem Fox

The Big, Big Wall – Reginald Howard

The Secret Code – Dana Rau

Moses Goes to the Circus – Isaac Millman

Silent Lotus – Jeanne Lee

You Say Hola, I Say Hello – Elizabeth Zapata

Why Does That Man Have Such A Big Nose? by Mary Beth Quinsey

Make Your Own Book

Another great idea that you can use in this school introduction or any time your child is meeting new friends and caregivers is to make a personal book about your child. You can make a simple paper book using word processing software and dropping in a few pictures of your child. Or, if you own an iPad, you can use an app like Story Kit to make a personal book about your child to share.

Child’s Owner’s Manual

Here is a great article entitled How to Write your Child’s Owner’s Manual for Special Education Teachers. This can be saved and updated to distribute whenever your child has a new teacher, therapist or caregiver.

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