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Relocation Services for families in the USA and
Christian Community Specialists!
Christian School Information
Give new families the gift
of welcome. It's priceless and can change lives!
Building a Welcoming Community
It's The Little Things That Count
Simple Market Research
Welcoming Parents: Don't Forget Mom and Dad
Alumni/Parent Business Directory
IT'S THE LITTLE
THINGS THAT COUNT
If you've ever moved, you know what
its like to be "the new kid in school." For many of us
who have been settled for years in one place, its easy to forget
that feeling you get when you walk into a room full of people who
have known each other all of their lives and you have to start
anew. What a difference it makes when someone is kind enough to
befriend you and help you navigate the ins and outs of a new
Often children who have always attended the same school are either
not receptive to a new student's needs, or not willing to leave
their circle of friends to help someone else get to know the
ropes. Unfortunately, as adults, we are often not any better at
helping new people feel welcome.
Some of the simplest acts can have a profound impact on the level
of receptivity a new family feels when they come to your school.
Former teacher and preschool director, Cindi Veenstra, gives the
following tips for helping families feel more welcome in a new
- Send out a letter/packet to a
prospective new family including information about the school.
Include maps of the buildings, a staff directory, and
publications such as newsletters that you already produce. Add
the family to your mailing list so they continue to receive
- Ask a class to write a letter to
a prospective student introducing their class and school.
- Call a few parents who have
children with similar ages and ask them to keep their eyes out
for the new family or send a quick note to welcome them.
- After the new family moves into
the community, give their name to the leaders of programs that
they may be interested in so the leader can give a call and
make a personal invitation to join the program or activity.
- Be sure to have everyone wear
nametags at school functions. People new to the community have
a tough job learning everyone's name and role. Nametags make
it so much easier.
- Ask one of the school families
to invite the new family over for coffee to talk about the
school and community and answer any questions they may have.
- When new students arrive at your
school, assign one or two current students to become a guide
and friend to the new student every day for a week. This will
assure that the new student has a constant companion and will
be introduced to different friends each day.
- Ask a school volunteer to call
the family after the first couple of days at school and before
the first few events to explain procedures/answer questions
- Put together a "Welcome to
our School" brochure that lists all the extracurricular
activities and special events that happen throughout the year.
Include information about who is expected to come to the
events, what kind of dress is expected, etc. Consider asking
the high school or junior high art class to create the
brochure or add appealing graphics. This brochure can be sent
to prospective parents as well as parents who have already
made a commitment. It will show the prospective parents that
you are a caring community!
New families are the best source of
feedback to gauge how welcoming your school is. Usually a survey or
a quick, informal interview will give you a good feeling for where
you should focus your efforts. Contact families who were new 8-12
months ago to ask about their initial perceptions of your school.
They will usually be happy to talk about their experiences and will
be glad you cared enough to ask.
Ask questions such as:
"What do you remember most about
the first time you visited our school?"
Answers to these simple questions will
give you a valid starting point and help you determine how you can
make your school a more welcoming place to attend.
"Were there particular people who welcomed you and made you
"Did you have a hard time finding your way through the
"What do you know now that you wish someone had told you
about our school?"
"What advice would you give this year's new students and/or
"Would you consider being a contact person for families who
will be new this fall?"
The EXODUS Referral
Network has developed "Welcoming" materials for churches
and schools that encourage members and leaders to create and
maintain a visitor-friendly atmosphere. EXODUS is a REALTOR® Referral
Service that assists families who are moving by connecting them with
real estate agents who are familiar with the Christian community in
their new or old neighborhood. Families that use this free service
also receive information about the churches and Christian and public
schools in their new community.
If you would like to receive a copy of the EXODUS Network's
Promotional Plan for Christian Schools, or their free email
newsletter, "Welcoming School," call 1-800-395-8556 or
send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If a family you know
is moving and needs to buy or sell home, tell them to call EXODUS!
Just as important as loyal
volunteers, new parents are valuable sources of new ideas. Don't
overlook opportunities to include new parents when you are forming a
committee or planning a big event. Many parents would be glad that
you asked, and contributing to a school project or chaperoning a
field trip will help them become involved.
WELCOME PARENTS: DON'T FORGET MOM AND DAD
This is a project that
will take some time and may be best coordinated by a committed
volunteer. Compile a booklet or insert that includes the names,
occupations and company names of parents and alumni who live and
work in the district. A community directory is a helpful tool for
families who have recently moved into the area and need a plumber,
dentist, mechanic, or other professional who they are comfortable
working with. Collect submissions by including a postcard in your
monthly newsletter that interested parents and alumni can complete
and drop in the mail. Recruit a club or athletic team to do the
data-entry and let them sell the booklets to raise money for their
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