Tips for Creating Strong Teacher-Parent Relationships

By Sharon Taylor on August 26, 2011
  • 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

DSC_0738The 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!

 DSC_0148  
Open-Door Policy

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.

  

 Best Progress Reports

 

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.

 

Send Postcards

 DSC_0143I allow each student to decorate a blank postcard. I send it home with a positive comment on it sometime during the school year.

 5-31 029VIP (Very Important Parents)

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.

 Open house Open House

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.

 GREAT JOBA Positive Note

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.

 Scholastic 004Email

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.

 Scholastic 003 Classroom Blog

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.

Phone Calls

 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!

 

  

 

 

 

Comments

Great ideas, but what about the parent that does come to the school on a consistent basis and volunteers to help, but usually comes with a chip on their shoulder and almost always plays the "blame game." Blaming the school/teacher for their child's negative behaviors?

Hi Jenny, thanks for the compliment! This slideshow was fun to make. I will definitely have to check out wiggio.com. It sounds like an interesting tool! Thanks for sharing!

The video was very touching---I think the music makes it extra nice. I should do something like this, too. Our school has been using Wiggio.com to communicate with parents. We have a whole shool group and are further divided into class groups, teacher group, and just parents. It's been a great communication tool.

Thanks for the compliment Ashleigh! Blogs are a great communication tool for parents and teachers. My kindergarten students are so excited to see their pictures and work each week! I'm happy to hear you are enjoying your blog as well.

Happy Blogging! Sharon

Great ideas! I've started a new blog just for parents and students this year, and I'm really excited about it. It gives me an easy way to share what's going on in the classroom through little notes, pictures, and videos, and I think this will help get parents more excited about what is going on in the classroom.

Thanks for the comment Jeremy. I hope my ideas continue to inspire you. Have a wonderful year!

Sharon

Great ideas! I agree, especially with your "positive note" section. Kids should be told on for the good things they do, not just the bad.

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