Parent communication is essential in supporting young children in kindergarten, but it can feel daunting to maintain back-and-forth daily communication with the parents of over 20 students! In this post, I’m sharing some helpful tips that will help you create a simple system for kindergarten take home folders. You’ll be able to maintain consistent communication with families without the overwhelm!
Do We Still Need Kindergarten Communication Folders?
Platforms like SeeSaw allow parents and teachers to easily communicate while students share their daily digital work. Do we ACTUALLY need communication folders?
My answer is yes! Take home folders for kindergarten allow students and their families to get in the habit of talking about school every evening. They also encourage students to learn responsibility for taking care of their folders and turning them in each day.
6 Tips for Kindergarten Take Home Folders
Adding communication folders to your classroom routine can be a great way to keep parents up to speed on what is going on in the classroom, but the nuts and bolts of a folder system can seem overwhelming for busy kindergarten teachers. Here are some helpful things to consider as you set up your own folder system.
1. Create a Routine
One of the most important parts of having a simple communication folder setup is to create a routine. I like to start using take home folders as soon as possible in the school year, so that it becomes a regular part of each family’s after-school routine. I have found that families start the year excited about checking backpacks and referencing schedules, so I definitely try to use that momentum to help build that habit!
The next part of a take-home folder routine is to have a consistent procedure for students to turn in their folders each morning. Whether it’s a turn-in tub on the back table or a designated folder collector, find a method that works within your morning routine. The more predictable the routine, the more sustainable it will be!
Finally, make sure that you set aside time in your day to check and prep the take home folders. By keeping this routine as one of the top priorities in your schedule, it is more likely to stick!
2. Make it Last
Having a routine that lasts for the whole year is important, but you need the actual folders to last, as well! Take home folders receive a lot of wear and tear throughout the year, so I like to use the plastic poly folders whenever possible. They are less likely to end up squashed at the bottom of backpacks or destroyed by pets and liquids. Plus, I never think it’s a bad thing when something can be wiped down with cleaner, so that’s a bonus of using poly folders.
3. Label, Label, Label!
Keeping your take home folders labeled is an easy way to simplify your communication folder routine. You can add a large label on the front with the student name to make quick work of passing out folders. If you use poly folders, you can use large mailing labels for the front to make sure they stay put!
It’s also helpful to label the inside pockets of the folder so that parents can clearly see what should be “LEFT at Home” and what should “Come RIGHT Back.” This is another part of the take home folder routine that will become habit for parents. It’s a very simple way to communicate what to do with the papers being sent home each day.
(If you would like a set of FREE labels for take home folders, you can find some here.)
4. Keep the Folder Filled
One of the quickest ways to derail a communication folder routine is to send home a folder with nothing inside. After a couple of days of opening a folder full of nothing, families will simply stop checking. Does this mean you need to find something to add to the folder on a “light news” day? Absolutely not!
One way to make sure that there is always helpful information in your communication tool is to use a folder with prongs. (So that means the ideal take home folder is a two-pocket poly folder with three prongs.) You can keep helpful reference information attached to the folder, so it doesn’t disappear on either side of the communication chain. This means that the folder will never be truly empty, important reference information won’t be misplaced, and families will stay in the routine of checking the folder each day.
5. Allow for Flexibility
In order for a take home folder system to work, it needs to be sustainable. Switching up the monthly calendar every time there’s a new addition or change to the schedule is the opposite of sustainable! I've found that the easiest way to allow for flexibility is to use a weekly communication log, as well.
The monthly calendar provides a birds-eye-view of the month, with important reminders that are unlikely to change, like days with no school. Then the week-at-a-glance schedule provides the opportunity to communicate additional information to families as it comes up throughout the month. It can also share learning goals for the week, suggestions for at-home practice, and more!
6. Use Consistent Colors
This is a simple but effective tip for take home folders: Use consistent paper colors! By printing off your regular communication tools on the same color paper each week, parents will know exactly what to look for each time they open the folder. The other benefit of this is that important flyers and papers will easily stand out against the colors that are used each week.
More Kindergarten Take Home Folder Tips
Would you like to see more details about how I have used kindergarten take home folders in my classroom? Check out this video, where I walk you through the specifics of my take home folder printables.
Kindergarten Take Home Folder Printables
You can find all of the take home folder printables shown above in the money-saving Parent Communication Editable Forms Bundle! Would you like to take a closer look at what’s included in this bundle of helpful parent communication resources? You can find it in the Teaching Exceptional Kinders shop or on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Save These Kindergarten Take Home Folder Ideas
Are you short on time? Be sure to save this pin to your favorite teacher board on Pinterest. You’ll be able to quickly download and print these resources whenever you’re ready.