Eric- that first communication with parents is so important! In my summer letter to families, I invite families to write me a letter about their child. They can include their thoughts about their child's likes and dislikes, habits, hobbies and what the parents know about how their child learns best. Not all families take advantage of the opportunity to write these letters, but I do feel that the letters I receive give me a 'quick snapshot' and help me plan for the beginning of school.
Once school starts, I make sure that I take some time during the first one or two weeks of school to call each child's home and talk to a parent (or sometimes an answering machine!) to welcome them to grade two, to tell them about their child's great start to the new year and maybe share an anecdote about something I noticed the child doing well. It's a great positive and proactive step that goes a LONG way to setting up a good school-home connection with the families of the children I teach.
What a great idea! I love the letter idea! That really lets the family know that you're interested in the whole child. I love it! I think I'll use that in a homework assignment this week!
A call home for things other than discipline really helps that home-school communication and really helps to keep parents positive about their child's education. I really think that it should be be a rule of thumb for positive communication go home at least 2 times per grading period. Imagine how many parents' perceptions would be changed!
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