I assign a buddy that helps the new student unpack and "learn the ropes." Once I'm sure the child feels comfortable in class- usually I wait until after lunch- we ask the child some questions. I have pre-made questions ready. Always insightful! The new student goes home with letters and cards (look at the letter that says I'm either 47 or...63!), a pencil, a picture of the "First Day" of school, and all of my newsletters to date. (While I send via email weekly, I print out a few copies each week just in case I get a new student. Parents seem appreciative and it saves me time having to explain everything. I always like to write a quick email during lunch to the family in case they're worrying about their little one and I call home in the evening just to officially welcome the family and reassure them that it was a smooth start. Lucky for me, I've always had a smooth start! In fact, last year, I had the sweetest girl join my class. Lovely. When I called her up to read with me, she said, "I'm a Level H." (For the record, she was a K.)
I have a small packet in my store if you'd like to check it out. I couldn't resist the cute storks and I just wanted to have something at my fingertips when needed.