Tips for Parent-Teacher Communication in Early Childhood Development
Apart from the home atmosphere, a child is deeply shaped by the school experience. The teachers who form the core of their growing years leave an indelible mark on them, the memories they carry with them throughout life's journey. For this reason, parents and teachers need to work in tandem to ensure that the home is an extension of the practices and values imbibed in the classroom and vice-versa the only way to do that is for parents and teachers to communicate honestly and effectively. Children, even during the early years, are keen observers, and when they realize that their parents and teachers are communicating, they understand that everyone has their best interests in mind.
Parent-Teacher Communication-What is it?
As a teacher, headmistress and parent myself, I have realized that communication serves as a bridge that helps develop a relationship that begins at the beginning of a school year and stays until the child moves to the next grade. Opportunities for parent and teacher communication can occur in person during the Parent-Teacher Meeting, events at school or even during pick up and drop off - especially in the Early Years scenario. Apart from this, teachers and parents can also reach out to each other via phone or email.
Benefits of Effective Communication:
Anxiety and fear are words synonymous with children and parents, especially in early childhood development. The reason being that it is the first time children are stepping out of their comfort zone, and parents are slowly trying to come to terms with this transition. Regular and effective communication with the teacher at this juncture will help put your mind at ease and guide you to understand your child's developmental milestones, strengths and areas that need further development.
At the beginning of each academic year, teachers too have their apprehensions and fears, and the first meeting with the parents helps build a bridge to remove them. The bond with parents helps create a learning environment where trust is nurtured, and both parents and teachers work together to focus on the child's well-being in their care.
Tips for Parent-Teacher Communication – Important Strategies:
Today, communication is possible through so many mediums, so it is good to review what worked for you and then add other new methods to the already existing ones to get a 360-degree communication model in place. For me personally, here are a few tips that worked wonders in reducing anxiety and creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation between the parents and the team. I believe that they will certainly help you too!
Quick Daily Interactions: Children in the early years still comprehend the world around them and may not be able to put their thoughts into words coherently. Thus, quick interactions during pick up and drop are a good way to exchange verbal notes about the child's day.
Diary Notes: If anything important is to be communicated, parents and teachers can also use the school diary to share notes. Both parties must make it a practice to check the diary daily and acknowledge the communication.
Parent-Teacher Meetings: Usually scheduled once a month, a parent-teacher meeting is a good platform to discuss the child's progress. Being honest and respectful to each other and listening to understand the other person's perceptive with helpful in the brainstorming session and serve to create specific goals with definite timelines that will hasten progress.
Phone Calls and Emails: In some cases, both the above scenarios may not work for parents because of their busy schedules. So here, a phone call or an email will help the teacher and parents connect. After the phone call, brief, simple discussions and documentation will serve as a reference for both parents and teachers! Very much like verbal communication, it is important to think before putting words together, as the message in the email will be decoded as per the reader's mood. Thus, parents and teachers are advised to proofread the document and check for any underlying tones before pressing the send button.
Text Messages: Reminders for important events can be sent through text messages with clear details of the time, date and expectations. Parents can either RSVP using the same medium or send an email with the confirmation.
Newsletters: This form of communication is welcomed with open arms by parents. They get a glimpse of the activities conducted and see how much their child enjoyed participating in the same. A monthly or quarterly newsletter with photographs and a crisp note documenting the event works to further strengthen the connection.
Parents and teachers shape a child's learning experience, and perfect communication is the key to a stronger foundation! These tips are meant to guide you on this journey and are coupled with kind words. There is no way that you, as parents and teachers, can go wrong in shaping the lives of the children entrusted to you.
Guest Blog - Contributed by Rachna B. Gupta
Know more about her in our consultant's section.