How to Create an ELL Newcomers Welcome Packet

ELL newcomers just arrived?

Wondering how to welcome them and prepare them for a successful school year?

You’re in the right place!

In this article…

we’re going to go over the steps for creating an amazing welcome packet for your newly-arrived learners!

Let’s jump right in.

Why Create an ELL Newcomers Welcome Packet in the First Place? 

Is it worth spending the time putting together a packet like this for your ELLs?

Let’s get this out of the way first. 

I suppose you already know the answer I’m going to give since I’ve taken the time to write this article and all.

AND…

You would be correct. YES! It’s definitely worth it.

BUT…

It’s also a little time-consuming which is why I’ve got some resources to make it a little easier for you below!

What are the benefits of a newcomers packet, you ask? Good question. Here they are:

  • Relieves Stress
  • Builds Confidence
  • Helps Newcomers Focus on What Matters Most
  • Makes Newcomers Feel Welcomed and Supported
  • Answers Important Questions
  • Shows Them Where to Get Help If They Need It

What to Include in an ELL Newcomers Welcome Packet Checklist

Here’s a checklist of items that you can include in your newcomers packet.

1. Welcome Letter: Write a welcome letter to the student. You can use a template and then add in the student’s name and then sign it by hand to give it a personal touch.

2. School Overview: This can include basic information such as school name, address, phone,  and website. You can also include a daily schedule of school start and end times as well as information on transportation and the school lunch program.

3. School Map: Include a basic map of the school layout. Highlight key areas such as the main office, nurse’s office, cafeteria, library, and gymnasium.

4. Student Class Schedule: You can let the student write out their own schedule or print off a schedule to include for them.

5. Staff Introduction: Provide photos and brief bios of key staff members, including the principal, ELL teachers, guidance counselors, and support staff. This helps students recognize and feel more comfortable approaching them.

6. Expectations: The list I like to include is much more about student self-care than about school expectations. You may also want to include a list of school expectations, especially where they may be culturally specific to your situation (Say please and thank you, raise your hand, etc.). 

7. Language Support: list information on available language support programs, such as ESL classes, tutoring sessions, and bilingual resources.

8. Fun Stuff: This can include recommended clubs and sports to hep students find a place to plug in and make friends. You can also include a list of upcoming school events and traditions. These can be excellent opportunities for newcomers to immerse themselves in the school culture.

9. Parent Information: Encourage and be particularly welcoming of parental involvement by providing information on parent-teacher organizations, volunteer opportunities, and parent-teacher conferences. You may have to go out of your way a bit to connect with parents since they may also be reeling a bit from having moved to a new country, especially if they do not yet speak the language.

10. Translation Services: Inform parents about the availability of translation services for meetings and school communications.

11. Contact Information: Include a list of important phone numbers and email addresses, such as the main office, ELL coordinator, and guidance counselor.

12. Glossary of Terms: Include a list of school terminology and/or acronyms. Consider including translations where possible to aid understanding. Common acronyms and abbreviations used in the school context include GPA (Grade Point Average), PTA (Parent-Teacher Association), and IEP (Individualized Education Program).

13. Community Resources: You can add a list of local libraries, community centers, and healthcare centers with phone numbers and addresses for reference.

Other Things to Consider for your ELL Newcomers Packet

Translation: You can create multiple translations of the template in different languages so that you can choose a letter with the native language of the student if needed. If you’re a member of the Kid-Inspired ESL Curriculum Membership, you can find multiple language options as well as other file options inside the membership.

Packet: You can buy some colorful folders to put the pages of the packet into. It’s always fun to get folders that the students can draw or put stickers onto in order to make it their own. It’s also helpful to make it possible to add pages as needed.

Common Vocabulary Dictionary: You can put in a few pages of common school vocabulary words and phrases for reference. If you’re a member of the Kid-Inspired ESL Curriculum Membership, there are loads of themed vocabulary lessons on a variety of topics including school supplies, math symbols, common classroom phrases, and much more.

Vocabulary Theme Lesson Word Bank Practice from the ESL Curriculum Membership

Vocabulary Theme

Example of a Vocabulary Theme Page on School Supplies from the Kid-Inspired ESL Curriculum Membership.

Download the Basic ELL Newcomers Packet Welcome Packet Template

Click the button below to make a copy of the template in your Google Docs account.

If you have any other ideas for what you like to include in an ELL Newcomers packet that I haven’t mentioned here, let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.

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