Tips for Creating Strong Teacher-Parent Relationships
- Grades: PreK–K
Effective communication is essential to create strong teacher-parent relationships and parental involvement. Students need the support of both teachers and parents in order to succeed academically, physically, and emotionally. Read on as I provide you with a few tips to help establish a strong relationship with your most powerful ally: parents.
To teach well, we must know children well, and parents can help us do that better than anyone. It is important you communicate often with your students' parents. Here are a few strategies I have used throughout the years to help build and strengthen my relationships with my parents.
Meet and Greet
The meet and greet is the first step to opening a line of communication with your parents. My school holds this event a week before school begins. The meet and greet gives parents an opportunity to meet teachers and tour classrooms. During this event, have a welcome packet prepared for parents, which includes data about you and your classroom. I also take pictures of parents, which I later display. This helps to create a warm and welcoming environment where parents feel they and their child belong. You must put on your " 'A' Game" for this event. Remember you never get a second chance to make a first impression!
Create an open-door policy in your classroom. Establishing an open-door policy has helped increase parental involvement. My parents are welcome to participate in activities or simply observe. Incorporating an open-door policy has also helped to build and strengthen trust.
Each Friday, in the parent-teacher communication folder, parents are given a weekly progress report updating them on their child's academic and social progress.
I allow each student to decorate a blank postcard. I send it home with a positive comment on it sometime during the school year.
At the beginning of the school year, I send home a parent volunteer survey. I recruit parent volunteers to serve as tutors, classroom helpers, mystery readers and more. Having parent volunteers has helped enhance class curriculum, improve student achievement, and increase teacher appreciation. Check out this parent volunteer task list.
Host an open house in your classroom. At our school, open house is a time for students to show off their work and for friends and families to socialize. It is usually held four to six weeks after the start of school. In a later post, I'll provide some ideas and activities for your open house.
Too many parents receive phone calls with negative information about their children. I keep a spiral notebook of positive events in the classroom. I try to relay a positive note about each child to parents at least once every couple of weeks.
Establishing clear communication about what is expected, what is being learned, and ongoing events at school can be challenging. Luckily, today we have technology that makes teacher-parent contact easy. Here are a few tools I use to enhance teacher-parent communication.
Email is a fast and convenient way to send messages to my parents. I give parents my email address during our meet-and-greet before the start of school. I use it throughout the year to correspond with parents regarding their children and/or other school-related information. Parents also can use email to communicate any questions they may have for me. I check my email before and after school daily.
Classroom blogs help keep parents informed about what's going on in the classroom and school. This is my first year creating a classroom blog. My students and parents already love it! I use it to post homework, newsletters, class pictures, and other helpful information. Take a look at my blog by visiting kinderkicks.edublogs.org.
I make it a point to call each parent during the first two weeks of school. This helps to establish good rapport, and gives them the opportunity to ask questions about the new school year.
The book Easy and Effective Way to Communicate with Parents offers some more great tips on teacher-parent communication.
Strong, positive teacher-parent communication can take various forms, depending on what's comfortable for you and appropriate for the parents in your community. Focus on creating a positive tone for this communication for the start of the year and maintain it. Parents will appreciate your efforts and you and your students will benefit enormously.
Take a look at this slideshow featuring some of my awesome parents!