Communication with parents is a critical ingredient to your effectiveness as a child caregiver and educator. Parents want to feel confident that you understand their child. Communication starts from the first introduction and is built upon during every interaction and conversation interaction and conversation you have from that moment forward. Sometimes these connections can feel challenging, as they require a delicate balance of mutual trust, honesty, respect and understanding.
Educa’s article, The Secrets of Good Parent-Teacher Communication in ECE, summarizes simple ways to develop conversations with parents, including the following tips:
Interactive Parent-Teacher Conferences
Parents enjoy conferences with time to share their own experiences with their child. “Concentrate on maintaining eye contact, being empathetic, asking open-ended questions and using everyday language… listen to parents’ views as well as letting them know how their child is doing.” This will help to deepen your relationship as you build mutual respect and work towards seeing each other as equals.
Welcoming parents to spend time and help in the classroom establishes a rapport between parents and preschool teachers. It gives the families an opportunity to see what a typical day is like in the classroom, and to observe their own child in an environment different from home. While parents are in the classroom, ask if they have any feedback to share.
Hosting classroom events can help to develop the parent teacher relationship by inviting an opportunity for more casual socialization. “Children are also likely to feel more supported if they see their parents welcomed into the classroom. Social events that have worked well in preschools include parent nights, park playdates, family picnics, pizza and board games evenings, and family movie nights.”
“Asking families for feedback gives you a better understanding of their expectations of their children’s learning, uncovers small problems before they become big problems, and shows you respect their values and opinions. Survey questions can cover issues such as early learning, school readiness, communication, relationships and support for cultural differences.”
Technology is a fast, convenient, and easy way to share updates with parents. Updates via photos or educational apps help parents feel a part of the classroom and their child’s day.