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Ever heard the old adage “kids say the darndest things?” There’s a reason for that, and chances are good that your kids have come up with some doozies of their own a time or two. …

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Submitted by on August 10, 2010 – 6:00 AM4 Comments

What is the best way to communicate your child’s needs to their new teacher? A letter can be just the answer. We are a few days into August.  Where did summer vacation go? Families all over our state and country are preparing for the start of another school year.  During my long educational career, I was a teacher of students from preschool through adulthood.  The beginning of a new school year was a time of excitement! As Forest Gump’s words so aptly describe, that new class of students was “like a box of chocolates”.  You never knew what you were going to get.  Over the years I have found some strategies that have made a difference in getting to know my students better.  I always felt that my “knowing” of the students and their families made me a far more effective teacher.

If you are a parent of preschool through elementary age children, please consider writing a letter to your child’s teacher.  In this letter tell the teacher the things you want him/her to know about your child.  You, as parent, know your child better than anyone else and you care very much about his/her school success.  The “knowing” of your child by the teacher can be greatly facilitated by your genuine sharing of information.  In your letter, tell about your child’s strengths and personality.  Tell the teacher about any health or developmental concerns that you have.  Share whatever information you feel would be of value for your child’s teacher to know.  Here is an example of a letter to the teacher.

Dear Courtney’s Teacher,

Courtney is very excited about starting Kindergarten this year! We enjoyed visiting Open House and learning about her new class.  Last year Courtney attended a church preschool half days. She got along very well with the other children in her class.  She loves to write her name and loves books, especially books about real animals.  Courtney has always loved pets.  She has a gerbil, two dogs, and a cat. She loves to draw pictures of her pets and tell stories about them.  Courtney is learning how to ride horses at Black Bottom Stables and wants to be able to do gymnastics one day on a moving horse. She has been taking dance classes at the recreation center for the past two years and really enjoys ballet and jazz.  Courtney seems to be a natural leader with the children in the neighborhood.  She often gets them to make costumes, acting out skits and plays.  I hope that she will get to be a leader from time to time in your class.  Courtney likes to help cook and bake and is very helpful at meal times. Sometimes she pretends to be a waitress writing down our orders.

Another thing I would like for you to know about Courtney is that she is very sensitive to discipline.  Just a few firm words or a firm look at her is usually all that is needed to correct any misbehavior. She will tend to get very teary eyed when disciplined.  Courtney likes school and she likes to please adults in authority. Please let me know right away if you have any concerns about her behavior or work habits.

Courtney is the youngest child in our family.  She has a brother that is four years older than she is.  Both Courtney and her brother were adopted when they were infants.  She was born two months premature, but has developed physically and cognitively very well.  Our pediatrician says that she is just where she needs to be for five years old.  She and her brother are also both playing soccer this fall, and their dad is helping to coach the teams.

Courtney and her brother will go to the after-school program each day. I am a working mother, but I would like to help you and the students in any way that I can.  I am able to volunteer at the school once a week during my lunch hour.  I can also do tasks at home. I can also sew items that you may need.. Please feel free to contact me about any ways I can assist you.

Thank you for reading this letter. I hope this helps you know my daughter a little better. She is very precious to us and I surely hope you will feel the same way.


Ms. Hurt


If you have children who are middle school and high school students, consider inviting them to write a letter to their teachers.  Suggest that your older children tell their teachers how they learn best.  They can tell teachers about special interests, talents, and past achievements.  If you are a teacher, reading this blog, please consider inviting parents and students to write “a letter to the teacher.”

Best wishes to all readers for an exciting and rewarding school year!

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  • Dr. Annie,

    As always, thank you so much for your contribution! To be honest, I have never thought of this approach before. As the new school year crept closer and closer, I did find myself worrying about Madi going into Kindergarten with a new teacher. (Hailey’s teacher was Madi’s last year and we have a great relationship all the way around.) I think this is a fabulous way to gap that bridge between a teacher and a new student! Clearly this is beneficial for all parties involved. The parents, the child, and of coarse the teacher. I can’t imagine having a classroom of little people that I knew nothing about. We all want the best for our sweet babies. I think that when the importance of education, and the desire to be in involved in the entire process, is conveyed to the teacher on paper as well in our actions it will then be addressed by the teacher positive manor. I’m writing a letter to the teacher now!! Thanks again Dr. Annie!


  • Mr. Tom says:

    Dear Dr. Hurt,
    As a former elementary school Principal myself, I only wish that I had thought of this! I can’t tell you how many hours over my long career that were spent in conferences with upset parents. I think that it would be a wise thing if the teacher would ALSO compose a letter home to you, the parents, regarding classroom management style, expectations and of his/her interests. Some teachers do this.
    Currently, I am an Adjunct Prof. of Education working with future teachers. North Georgia College/State University requires these interns to compose a “Who I Am” section in their individual portfolio that is actually sent home to each parent via the student.
    After all, communication from both sides is the utmost of importance. Communication is a two way street.
    Keep writing, Dr. Hurt, and supply all with educational tidbits you’ve learned from your experiences and long career in education.

  • Dr. Annie Hurt says:

    Thank you for your comments, Lori and Mr. Tom. I always explain to my teacher colleagues that every child leaves home from someone and at the end of the day goes home to someone. Those someones are the significant adults in a child’s life. Somehow, we as educators must find a way to link with those significant adults. Together we have the opportunity to build a safety net to support and help the child’s growth socially, emotionally, physically and academically. Neither home nor school can foster this growth as well alone as they can by working together. Whatever strategies it takes for the parents and school personnel to know each other, the efforts are worth it. This partnership is in the best interest of the child and isn’t that what schooling is all about!!

  • Cynthia says:

    What a GREAT idea!!! Thank you Dr. Annie! I have two very loving kids in preschool who are very attached and sad when I leave. I have to leave quickly and gracefully and never have a chance to speak with the teachers. I am going to sit down and write both teachers letters right NOW!! I have a lot of friends in the same situation and I can’t wait to share your idea with them!

    I can’t wait till your next article…you are helping me become a better parent. ;o)

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!