Working with Parents

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Working with parents does not have to be contentious, communication is the key. Communication is critical for building a strong and excellent working relationship between parents and the school. As a teacher I begin the school year by sending out a questionnaire about each child that I ask the parents to fill out so that I may get to know the child better. Along with contact information some questions asked are: “What are your child’s interests? What would you like me to know about your child? What are your learning goals for your child this year? And what kind of services (if any) does your child receive?” This question and answer sheet starts and builds the line of communication with parents. The teacher can and should initiate the first communication with the parents because you are setting the stage for what will hopefully be a partnership of trust, teamwork and openness. A quick five minutes on the first day to say hello and welcome to the parents and child can open the doors, letting the parents know that you are here to work with them and a resource from them in the learning process. Communication needs to be frequent and consistent between school and parents. Some effective communication strategies are: telephone calls, newsletters, open houses, school calendars, school/class websites, and parent workshops. Even though communication is key, parents need to become an active member in their child’s education. As Staples and Diliberto (2010) stated “Some parents view education as the primary role of the school with little need for parental involvement. Whereas other parents view education as a collaborative role between parents and educators” (p.59). The latter is what we as educators should aim to avoid. Building a strong parent – teacher/school partnership begins with getting parents involved in the day-to-day classroom activities. Invite parents to come in and be part of a lesson or serve as a class volunteer. Give them a chance to be involved in...
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