Teachers may not want to focus much time on communicating with parents but this can only benefit their students, as well as make their own job easier. Try these four tips for clear communication with the parents of the students in your classroom.
Newsletters are perhaps the most important method you can use in communicating a message clearly with preschool parents. Many parents may feel like they’re paying you to babysit their children, which is obviously far from the truth. A newsletter can help you share the themes, activities, and projects that you have done with the children. It can also help you inform the parents of any special upcoming events, days off, or supplies that you’d like them to send with their children.
Make sure to include small tidbits about individual students in each newsletter. In fact, you might want to keep a checklist of who you’ve mentioned to make sure each student gets mentioned an equal number of times; parents will look for their child’s name!
Parent Night is an optimal time to communicate with your students’ parents. If possible, make Parent Night on a Sunday so that working parents can come easily and their children can accompany them. Give your students the chance to show their parents around the classroom, and involve the parents in the activities that their children do every day. A well-developed Parent Night can lead to a new understanding and respect between preschool teachers and parents.
Feel like there’s too much for one person to do in your preschool classroom? Enlist some parents to help! Although some parents may feel overwhelmed or over-scheduled, others would likely love to get more involved in their kids’ schools. Send out a questionnaire towards the beginning of the school year listing several volunteer opportunities that parents could help with, such as one-time events (e.g., picture day, lice checking, graduation), extracurricular activities (e.g., art, music, dance), or regular positions (e.g., lunch monitor, room parent, tutor). You also might want to ask if parents have any interests or skills that they would like to share with students.
Rather than a newsletter, some preschool teachers find it easiest to create a Web page for their center. In this way, the teacher can update the site in real-time, as needed. Other teachers make their email addresses available to parents, making sure to check it regularly. They also might require or suggest that parents sign up for a listserv so that they can keep parents updated regularly. These methods of communicating with preschool parents can keep your students’ parents feeling “in the loop," and can help you disseminate important information as well.