Connecting with parents and guardians can benefit your students in countless ways. Kick off the new school year with these tips to maintain positive and effective two-way communication with families.
As we welcome a fresh academic year, the bond between home and school becomes more crucial than ever. Early childcare providers and pre-school teachers play an essential role in the formative years of a child's life.
One of the cornerstones of our impact is our partnership with parents. Effective, transparent communication with parents ensures a cohesive support system for the young learners we serve.
Below are our tips to ensure that this partnership remains strong throughout the year:
1. Start with an Open Door Policy
Begin the academic year by letting parents know they are always welcome. Whether it's a casual chat at drop-off or a scheduled meeting, encourage parents to voice their concerns, share insights about their child, or even offer feedback about the classroom environment.
2. Share Regular Updates
Remember, for many parents, leaving their child in someone else's care is a significant step. Alleviate their anxiety with regular updates about their child's day. These can be in the form of daily or weekly newsletters, photos, or even simple notes. Apps and platforms specially designed for classroom communication can also be handy tools.
3. Host Parent-Teacher Conferences
Although more common in primary and secondary schools, parent-teacher conferences can be invaluable in early childhood settings. These dedicated times allow for deeper discussions about a child’s progress, strengths, and areas for growth.
4. Utilize Digital Communication Tools
Digital tools like emails, classroom apps, or SMS can make communication seamless and instantaneous. Consider using platforms like ClassDojo, Remind, or SeeSaw to send reminders, share photos, or inform parents about upcoming events.
5. Organize Parent Workshops
Occasionally organize workshops on topics like positive discipline, early literacy, or healthy eating habits. Not only does this empower parents with knowledge, but it also showcases your dedication and expertise.
6. Be Open to Feedback
While it's essential to keep parents informed, it's equally crucial to seek their feedback. Send out occasional surveys or hold feedback sessions to understand parents' concerns or suggestions better.
7. Celebrate Milestones Together
Whether it's the first successful potty-training week or a child's initial foray into writing their name, celebrate these milestones. Share these joyous moments with parents, which can be a bonding experience.
8. Promote Transparency
If there’s a concern or incident involving a child, communicate it to the parents honestly and swiftly. This builds trust and shows parents that you prioritize their child’s well-being.
9. Respect Cultural and Linguistic Differences
Always be sensitive to the diverse backgrounds of families. If possible, provide translation services or materials in different languages. Recognize and celebrate the various traditions, festivals, and customs of the families in your care.
10. Stay Professional Yet Compassionate
While building close relationships with families is crucial, remember to maintain a professional boundary. This means respecting confidentiality, being non-judgmental, and ensuring that all interactions are in the best interest of the child.
In conclusion, effective communication with parents is not just about disseminating information but about building a bridge between home and school. When parents and educators join hands, the potential for positive impact on a child's life is boundless.
Related Teacher & Childcare Provider Resources
- Reducing the Risk: Creating a Comprehensive Parent & Staff Handbook
- Family Communication: It's Easy and Important!
- Customer Service: Professionalism in the Classroom
Sara Naff is an early childhood education professional who has taught in the preschool classroom as well as adult learner environments. She is Director of Operations at AIR Childcare Training Solutions.