Nuts and Bolts of a Deeper Parent Teacher Partnership
It may sound odd, but a child’s character development is an area where even angels may fear to tread, much less preschool teachers. A parent must show a readiness to receive input and a willingness to at least consider a preschool teacher’s observations with regard to the child’s character development. In her article on how to enhance parent-teacher collaboration, Debi Kellerer points out that approaching the teacher as a like-minded partner instead of a confrontational rabble-rouser worked for her in the middle school years of her son’s education. The same holds true for preschool parents as well.
Only if the preschool teacher is unafraid of sharing observations, praise and concern alike, can there truly be the kind of parent teacher collaboration with preschool children, parents, and other caregivers that is needed to positively influence a child’s character development. As a parent, this means becoming a visible helper in the school at large and the preschool classroom in particular. This interaction must be devoid of taking over or offering unsolicited advice, but should be marked by taking direction from the teacher and expressly supporting her role of authority.
Getting to know the teachers and children on this level may be an eye opening experience in its own right. Moreover, it helps grownups to gain a new appreciation of what children deal with on a daily basis. Be sure to verbalize expressly that you want to know about your child’s character: the good, the bad, and even the ugly. Explain what your vision is for your child’s character and be open about adverse character traits you are trying to correct at home. For example, share with the preschool teacher that your child has a hard time sharing his toys with his sister, but that he is wonderful helping his aged grandfather with finding things the senior may have misplaced in the home.