Labor Day weekend is upon us, that means that summer is coming to an end and that school is just around the corner. Are you ready for your little one’s first day of school? What about your child?

Check out these five questions that you should ask your grade-school kid’s teacher before the first day of school.

  1. How many students are enrolled in the class? If that number seems high to you, follow it up with questions about what help the teacher might have. A regular assistant shared between a few classes isn’t uncommon, or regular parent volunteers (hint hint). A student teacher would be a particularly special bonus. Even if they don’t have help, don’t bother running straight down to the enrollment office to switch your precious to another class—most school districts keep per-class enrollment very even across grades. Just be vigilant for issues as the school year starts.
  2. What about school supplies? Odds are, you’ve already got a big list. But this question is more about the structure of the classroom. Will your child have their own desk to keep things in? A cubby? Or will all school supplies be relegated to a communal pool and shared out as needed? (You’ll especially want to know about this one—Buy Kiddo the dollar-store crayons to toss in the pot, keep the 96-pack of scented glitter markers in their workspace at home.)
  3. What volunteer opportunities are there for you? Field trip chaperon? Someone to cut out 180 felt fish? Kids whose parents are personally involved in their classes (not just the PTA) statistically do better.
  4. What sort of help can Teacher offer if your kid struggles with classwork? Is the classroom open early or late? During recess? This is an area you can’t demand, only ask. Teacher’s time and energy is in way, way more demand than the six hours of class, especially as your student gets older. If Teacher doesn’t have the time available, ask down the hall at the school library and in the computer lab. If you’re really lucky, there’s even a tutoring center, which is the jackpot.
  5. Ask for the specific bell times for recesses and lunch. Those can vary across a school, and knowing exactly when you won’t disrupt class if you stop in to give Kiddo their forgotten lunch or coat is a gift both to Teacher and your child.