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Strengthening the Parent Teacher Relationship
Effective communication with parents improves learning outcomes for children. By utilizing monthly and daily reports for parents, teachers support parental involvement and student practice of skills outside of the classroom. These reports serve as communication tools that will surely aid in strengthening the parent-teacher relationship.
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Before the beginning of each month, teachers can send home a monthly communication form to identify skills and themes that will be focused on in the upcoming four weeks. This provides parents with an overview of what their children will be learning. Parents will be able to provide opportunities for exposing students to these skills naturally at home, making the teachers task much more manageable and likely successful. Themes for the month, special events, parent visitation days and special materials a child may need to bring to class that month can also be included in these monthly communication forms.
Creating a Monthly Communication Form
To create a monthly communications form, identify the following headings followed with the description for the month: morning circle themes, reading skills, writing skills, color of the month, science skills, social studies skills, health and physical education activities, social skills focus, interactive skills focus, special items your child needs. Include any other item that is part of the daily plan at your school. Then, attach a monthly school calendar to this monthly form. The calendar should identify the lunch served each day, days off, parent meetings or visits and special days that celebrate a specific person, event or topic(poetry day, Johnny Appleseed's birthday, show and tell day, etc...).
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Let parents know about their children's day in the classroom with a daily communication report on the day's events. A report for communicating daily events includes the daily periods and identify the content covered in each section. Parents can lead conversations at home regarding the day's events at school using the information provided on the report. This helps children to recall specific topics from the day. Parents will be able to ask specific content questions, which will elicit a greater, more detailed response from their children as well. This communication tool provides information into the educational program as well as the direction your child is headed if you choose to include a child rating for each period (such as practice needed, did well, and fantastic work).
Creating a Communication for Daily Activities Form
To create a Communication for Daily Activities form, identify the periods or activities with the times down one side of a sheet of paper. One the other side write in the content and activity for each. This can be completed before the start of the day and photo-copied for each student. A section for a personal comment can be added to the bottom of the form and something written for each student before distributing.
Parents will be grateful for the information. Many will conduct follow-up activities at home to reinforce the skills taught in class. At times a parent may ask a child, “What did you do today in school?" Now, a parent can ask specific questions regarding skills. This makes a big difference in children's responses.
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After discussing behavior concerns with parents, use a behavior report form to keep parents aware of their child's progress. Inquire with the school director for the standard form used by the school. if there is not a standard form to use, suggest that teachers come together to create an appropriate tool for communicating with parents. If this isn't possible, create a simple form to communicate with parents weekly. Ultimately, the more informed parents are on their child's adaptability in the classroom, the better the child will do, behaviorally and academically.
Creating a Behavior Form
To create a behavior form identify the subjects, activities and skills identified in the parent's daily communication form identified above. Next to each item, include a rating scale such as the following: no improvement, slight improvement, making progress. Also, include a section for a handwritten comment for the parent. Be as specific as possible when making the comments, such as, on Monday Johnny followed directions in learning circle and played nicely with the other students. The rest of the week the improvement continued. I'm pleased with the progress he is showing. This communication personalize the form for parents providing them with confidence that their child is in a caring and nurturing learning environment.
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Educating children is a team effort. Parents and teachers need to communicate effectively in order to support student's learning and related experiences in the academic setting. The more communication, the better the outcomes for parents, teachers, and most importantly - students.
- Author's experience on efffective parent-teacher communication tools in the classroom.