Project Appleseed

How To Hold A Successful

School Open House Or Parent Night

A parent night is a great opportunity to connect with your students’ parents, familiarize them with your teaching style and classroom, and let them know what you expect from their children in the coming year. More than that, it is the perfect opportunity to get parents involved with the school and volunteering. However, parent night, family nights and open houses leave little time for one-on-one conversations or extended meetings.


Here are a few tips on how to host a successful parent night at your school:


  • Pick a theme. Parent nights are a perfect opportunity to share an important idea, goal or aspect of your community with your students; families. Examples of themes may be Reading With Your Family, Music In Our Schools, International food or Technology in the Classroom.


  • Have a Parent Involvement Pledge sign-up. Parents often want to volunteer but don’t go out of their way to call a teacher or inquire into opportunities. Having them pledge a few hours of their time or sign up to help with a specific tasks or event while at a parent night is an ideal way to recruit help.


  • Display student art. Make your school warm and welcoming by displaying recent student art along hallways or by creating a mural in the school’s lobby, lunchroom, gym or auditorium.


  • Offer Guided tours. Parents will be more likely to go to their children’s schools, visit with teachers, and become more involved if they know their way around the school’s halls. As an alternative to a tour, send parents and children on scavenger hunts in which they visit all of the important places throughout the school.


  • Share teacher expectations. All too often, parents do not understand how a child’s school day is structured or what skill level their children should achieve by the end of the academic year. A parent night is a prime opportunity to give an overview of your classroom environment and curriculum. Have sample textbooks, a sample schedule, or even a slid show or PowerPoint presentation of daily activities.


  • Avoid individual conversations about students. This is not a parent-teacher conference, but rather a general welcome for everyone. If a parent would like to discuss their child with you in depth, set up a separate appointment for them in the coming weeks. Make sure every parent has your contact information.


  • Make sure parents know when the open house is! Perhaps the most important aspect of a successful open house is getting the parents in the door. Don’t shy away from several different modes of communication, including the school newsletter, emails, a website bulletin or even personal phone calls from teachers.