Before you begin a new school year, it’s always a good idea to invite the taller half of your class, the parents, for a little orientation. This gets them on board with you as co-educators of their children, and can clarify a lot of issues that could otherwise cause problems later on. Start now to build a positive relationship with the parents. Here are a few things I like to cover at my parent meetings.
- Daily Schedule. What will you be doing within your daily routine, and what exactly does each of those activities mean? What type of curriculum do you use? If you use learning centers, give a little tour and explain what skills each area promotes. This is a great opportunity to explain your philosophy and goals for the year.
- Communication. How will you let them know about your lesson plans from week to week or month to month? Will you email or send hard copies? Are you using a notes folder? If they have questions during the week is there a number you prefer they use? If they need to reach you during class, how can they do so?
- Policies and Procedures. What should parents do when they are late for arrival or departure? What is your policy for sick kids? What about your sick days? Do you have a sub or a make up day? What about accidents or large spills. (Quick tip here: Have each parent label a large Ziplock bag with the child’s name and put an extra set of old clothes in there to be kept at the school for emergencies.)
- Get Their Input. This meeting is a great time to hand out and explain the developmental assessment you will be using. Get some input from your parents on what their children can do, and what may be within their ZPD.
- Ways They Can Help. Parents play a huge role in a successful preschool year. How do you want them helping? Do you need volunteers daily or for special occasions? Do you assign snacks for children to bring? Are there opportunities for the parents to share their talents or professions in a large group setting? Have them sign up at the meeting. Are there ways they can support what you’re doing at home? Can they send in words for the word wall? Do you send home samples of the songs and books you use in school so they can do it at home as well?
- Schedule the Little Ones. I like to have a separate orientation for the children. Schedule that at your parent meeting, fill in the times on invitations to either mail or send home with the parents for their children. Having a personal invitation is exciting for the children and serves as a reminder for the parents as well.
Last, but certainly not least, it’s always nice to cap off the night with something in the gooey, chocolaty deliciousness category and give the parents time to get to know you and each other, and ask you about any questions they might have. There just aren’t too many ways to create a better start than with conversation and gooey, chocolaty deliciousness!
What else do you like to include on your parent nights?
For more back to school ideas, click here!
Photo by spekulator.