When I taught Kindergarten in Oakland, CA, many of my kid’s parents were Chinese immigrants with little to no English Language. But that didn’t stop me from enlisting my kiddos help in getting their parents (or grandparents, in some cases) into the classroom.
I was lucky, I’ll admit. I also had a full time Cantonese-speaking aid, so I could rely on her for my many translation needs.
It was awesome! We had some of the BEST potlucks EVER.
I share this personal story because this post is from our back-to-school series and it may be the final one before everyone is officially back… so I’m motivated to highlight the best ideas from our recent Seller’s Forum discussion about practical back-to-school tips.
This time, it’s all about the parents. In a nutshell: Get their help, get their stuff, use their connections, and don’t be shy!
Back-to-School Tip: Get Parents Involved from Day 1
Kathy Ryan says, “Building good relationships with parents right from day one is key to a successful year. By asking for parent input, you give an immediate message that you care about their child. Information gathered about a child’s educational and social history can be invaluable, and by asking parents, you empower them to feel part of the educational process.”
Kathy has a (FREE!) Parent Survey you’ll want to check out.
Another teacher-author who emphasizes the parent connection is Rulin’ the Roost.
Her advice: “Find time to connect with parents and keep them involved and in the know of what we’re doing! One thing I do from day 1 is have a Morning Message that is typed out with at least one thing that we will be doing that day. It also has some work at the bottom that goes along with something that we are learning. The kids each get their own copy and take it home. It gives the parents a starting point for what to ask their child about that night. It helps keep parents informed and feeling like a part of the classroom!”
Teachers Resource Force seconds that and says, “Great tips here! I say strike while they are fresh in the honeymoon period! The start of term is the time to set routines, set expectations, teach correct behaviors etc. If it’s a new class you’ve never met, make sure you get to know them and learn quickly what makes them tick… this will be useful later! Also try and contact all parents within the first few weeks to let them know how their children are settling in.”
She has an excellent Getting To Know You Ice Breakers product you’ll totally appreciate!
I want to wish you all the VERY BEST of back-to-school experiences. I’m continuously impressed by the collective knowledge you bring to the table and I know that our children’s futures are better for it!