Talking with Parents

Sometime in the first month of school you can expect to have a Back-to-School night for parents.  I remember always freaking out about all the things I wanted to be sure to tell the parents or guardians, but now I realize that too much information just overwhelms them.  As a parent myself, I now realize that the parents come that night to find out what kind of person I am.  Will I keep their child safe and support him as a learner?  Will I love their child and find out his strengths and weaknesses?  Am I a kind and caring individual? Do I have a structure and organization to the classroom that will allow for guided learning as well as individual creativity? Do I seem knowledgeable about the curriculum for this grade level?

Our many years of experience have taught us that as the school year progresses there will be various opportunities to communicate with the parents and we don’t have to “get it all in” on this one evening.  Below we make five suggestions of what we like to get across to our children’s families on Back-to-School night.

  1. We will accept their child exactly as he or she is.  We will work hard to understand the strengths that their child brings to the group. We believe in developing a community of learners who work together cooperatively and support each other.
  2. Much of what we do in Social Studies and Science is inquiry-based learning.  As we begin projects, students have opportunity to ask questions about what they would like to know about the topic. A weekly newsletter will keep you abreast of what we are working on.
  3. The walls of our classrooms and outside in the hallways tell the story of our learning together.  Please feel free to come in and have a look.
  4. We believe in taking each child from where he is and helping him grow as a reader, writer, mathematician, artist, and so on.
  5. We want to develop children who not only CAN read and write, but LOVE to read and write. We promise that the children will fall in love with certain books and authors this year.  Look for the titles of our read aloud books in the newsletter.

In Catching Readers Before They Fall, Katie talks about the weekly newsletter on page 213.  See a sample of her Keier Flyer in Appendix 19 and her first letter home to parents in Appendix 17. Also, Chapter 11 answers questions commonly asked by parents throughout the school year.

We hope you will add an idea of what you share with parents on this special evening.

Pat and Katie

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