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“Welcome to Our Class” Letter by Saying “Get Out”

July 30, 2013

What is going into your “Welcome to Our Class” letter this year? While some teachers will be encouraging their new students to buy school supplies or trying to set classroom rules in writing before kids even step into the class – in my mind a welcoming letter needs to be exactly that – welcoming.

Now, let’s go a step further – what if we were to create a sense of exploration and discovery right from the get go with the thought that learning was a journey and – where and when possible – we brought our students outdoors.

Many schools have a blanket permission form granting teachers permission to take their students out into the community, close to the school. If you do, take advantage of it; if not, look into what it would take to get that permission.

I would just be ecstatic as a parent if a letter like the one below was addressed to one of my own children.

Dear __________,

 I’m writing to you from my front porch, breathing in the fresh morning air and thinking about all I’ve learned during this summer so far. I need to tell you how very excited I am to have you as part of my class this year! I am looking forward to this school year in so many ways, and I am sure we’ll enjoy the journey together!

 While the class will be made up of some old friends from last year, there will be some new friends as well. I think you will enjoy the year for we will have one of the largest classrooms at the school. And by this, I mean the endless possibilities of the outdoors. 

We have a number of field trips planned and to prepare for those field trips we will be learning in our own community both before and after the actual field trip. Instead of just a one day pond study, we’ll be learning about Habitats using math, science, language arts and social skills in our own backyard at the school. In fact, when possible, we will be doing assignments in groups at the park beside the school and even perhaps write a test or two in the great outdoors.

When we are outdoors we’ll be learning. This of course is the whole reason we are coming to school – but our goal is to take learning off the blackboard and outside when we can! We will make learning fun using the school’s technology such as the iPads and cameras to showcase to our families the wonders of the world around us. We’ll write stories, reports, create calendars, and more.

Therefore, along with the usual back to school items such as pencil crayons and calculators, I’d like to encourage you to also bring a wide brimmed hat, comfortable and sturdy shoes, and to dress in clothing suitable for being outside. Learning how to “read” the weather will be part of our first few weeks of getting to know one another.

So, enjoy the rest of your summer! Get ready for September and think about what you’ve learned this summer away from school in the great outdoors. When school starts – get ready to share that – for it just might be a great lesson for the rest of us as well!

I have no doubt you will have some questions about this, so I encourage you to send me a question or two to the email at the top of the letter.

Yours Naturally,

Mr. Ridley 

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