Friday, September 20, 2013

Communicating with parents

Communication comes in different forms

The way you communicate with your parents can determine whether your students and you, have a successful Early Childhood experience.

Your only communication with a parent shouldn't be negative. Although it is important to inform parents how their child’s day went, it is also important not to fill each meeting with a negative comment about something that their child did, or did not do.

Here is my take on this, and a philosophy of mine. I knew my students and their personalities so I knew who the hitters, good listeners and active students were. Before I talked to a parent about their child, I took those traits into consideration. If I had a student that was hitting less, and my redirection techniques were working.I did not approach the parent everyday with the information; I would only give the information when asked. 

I knew this student would hit, they did it every day, but I didn't see the need in telling the parent each day. If it was something that we were working on, I thought it was important to give the student time to improve before telling the parent again.

 I also took the initiative to find out when the student hit most, so that I could share that information with the parent and let him or her know what I was doing to improve the situation.

However, I do feel that excess hitting should be documented and  taken to the director for review. 

The worse way to communicate unacceptable behavior to a parent is by using the parent communication forms. Writing can be interpret in different ways, and although you might intend it one way, the parent might interpret it in a different way.

A great communication technique and to keep your parents involved in their child’s education is to involve them in the theme you are working on, have them come in for story time or volunteer for class parties. This allows them to feel more comfortable around you, and you them, making communication easier.

Take Parent/Teacher conferences seriously, they are important; showing parents what their children are doing speaks to the parents as well. Keep good records along with anecdotal notes, pictures and artwork. 

Prepare your classroom for Open house, this gives your students an opportunity to show their parents what they are doing and it gets the parents engaged. It also opens the parents up to communicating with you.

Above all, treat parents how you would like to be treated as a parent, even if you are not one yet. We all know what we want for our children even before we have them. Try to understand each parent’s individual suggestions and in some cases demands.

On a different note:  Stay professional; I understand this can be difficult when you meet a parent that you connect with. But remember you are there to educate their children not make friends. If this does happen, keep your work environment, other staff members and parents, students and management out of your conversations.

Here’s an idea
I shared a book cover at the top of this page; the book was created by my students and I, to help them understand what imagination meant.

 Each student decided who they wanted to be in their imagination; there were princess fairies, rock stars, butterflies, fairies, an elephant, Tinker bell, Princesses Snow White, a GI Joe and  a donkey, I decided I would be a large bird. The students wore their costumes of those characters, told the class who they were and what they were doing in their imagination. I prepared the book based on what they said.

You can use books like this to communicate the theme you are working on, or for an Open House project. 


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