Preschool Attendance Tool Kit

About this resource
Reviewed: 2018

The Attendance Toolkit is a resource for prekindergarten teachers to assist them in promoting the importance of daily attendance in preschool. These suggestions for promoting daily attendance are organized by the seasons (summer, fall, winter, and spring). However, they may be used at any time of the year.

For resources to help providers address attendance issues, check out our resource list.

Summer

Be Enthusiastic

Send e-mail reminders about fun activities families can do together to help children prepare for the next year in school. Remind families to talk with their child about the upcoming school year and share their excitement about what their child will be learning. Some programs build excitement by hosting a summer family potluck or park play date to bring families and their children together.

Be Prepared and Consistent

Remind parents about keeping their child healthy and opportunities to access medical care (e.g., mobile health clinic, public health centers) so children’s immunizations are up to date before school starts.

Be Flexible

Let new families know (via text, phone call, or e-mail) that preparing backup plans for getting their child to school can be started during the summer.

Fall

Be Enthusiastic

  • Promote Attendance Awareness Month in September. The Attendance Works website provides resources for schools/programs to use to promote attendance awareness.
  • Send home a copy of the IEL Tip Sheet Get Them to School Every Day. (Also available in Spanish, Polish, Arabic, French, Simplified Chinese, and Korean.)
  • Boosting Attendance in Preschool Can Start With A Knock On The Door
    Home visits at the beginning of the school year help create a relationship and open lines of communication between the school and family.
  • Mail a postcard to each student indicating how excited you are to meet them on the first day of school. Create specific opportunities to build positive relationships with families and children.
  • Make sure families understand program policies and procedures related to attendance.
  • Share children’s portfolios during parent/teacher conferences and explain how their child is learning and growing each day at preschool. Remind parents that when they demonstrate enthusiasm about preschool, it shows their child that school is important.

Be Prepared and Consistent

Help children create picture schedules that they can follow at home about getting ready for school. You can find examples of these by visiting Pinterest and websites with sample visual schedules. Share children’s picture schedules with their family. Preschool children like to see their photograph, so families may want to use photos of their child doing each step instead of line drawings.

Be Flexible

Work with families to ensure there are backup plans for getting their child to school in case something comes up. Some schools offer to connect families to provide car pools, child care, etc. This would need to be voluntary, but it has shown attendance benefits in some schools.

Winter

Be Enthusiastic

Send families e-mail or text messages reminding them that it’s important to come back to school after the winter break. Include photos of fun activities that they can share with their child to help them get excited about returning to preschool. These photos can include class projects they created, field trips, etc. You can include a preview of what you will be doing in preschool when you return from winter break (upcoming events, new materials, etc.).

Be Prepared and Consistent

Remind families (via text messages, phone calls, and/or e-mails) to prepare their child to return to school after winter break. This can include getting back on a regular sleep schedule and other routines (e.g., have coats, mittens, boots, and backpack ready the night before).

Be Flexible

Reinforce the importance of attendance in newsletters and e-mails. Be aware of children who consistently miss preschool and quickly notify family support workers or school social workers about any chronic absentees. A home visit may be necessary to determine what resources are needed to support the child’s attendance in preschool. Families may need extra support during winter weather to access appropriate child and adult outdoor clothing (e.g., warm jackets, hats, mittens, boots).

Spring

Be Enthusiastic

  • Remind families about the importance of school attendance as you plan their child’s transition to kindergarten. Remind parents about the impact their child’s regular attendance has on his/her academic and social development.
  • Keep children and families informed about year-end field trips, activities, and celebrations so they (and their child) get excited about upcoming events.

Be Prepared and Consistent

  • Prepare families for their child’s transition to kindergarten. Include information about the importance of attendance and how absences greatly impact children’s success in kindergarten and later schooling.
  • Share some of the IEL Project’s kindergarten resources.
  • Include information about the importance of attendance during kindergarten transition meetings.

Be Flexible

During kindergarten screening events or other preparation for kindergarten meetings, help families connect with other families whose children will attend the same elementary school. Some elementary schools schedule a kindergarten visit day for families. Make sure to let families know about these special days so they can meet other families.