Building Strong Parent Educator Partnerships
The old adage says, “it takes a village to raise a child”. But with more and more dual full-time working parents, family members far away, and the increasingly fast pace of life today, the traditional village seems to have disappeared. There is one place, however, where the spirit of support and collaboration in meeting the needs of young children is still very strong — just look at a high-quality early childhood program. It’s here, in cozy preschool classrooms and brightly colored toddler spaces that parents will find dedicated professionals who are there to support them in helping their young child become all they can be. Early childhood educators are committed to providing a warm, enriching environment for your child and building a strong relationship with you as parents as well. Sharing small details at drop-off and pick-up, enjoying a shared laugh about a funny moment, reviewing progress reports, and putting heads together when times are challenging – that’s exactly what this relationship is all about. And by ensuring that your relationship is a collaborative and respectful one, we can provide the very best for your developing child.
As a parent you might be thinking: of course you want a strong partnership with your child’s teachers – but what happens when you hit a bump along the way? The demands on parents are greater than ever before. And the pressure on educators to meet all the needs of individual children in group care is also huge. Is it then any wonder that things can get tense when mittens go missing or messages are misunderstood?
Here our top 5 tips for busy parents on how to build a strong partnership with your child’s teacher:
- Take some time to get to know your child’s teacher. A warm hello and goodbye each day can go a long way toward creating good will. Another simple way to build communication: give yourself time to pass along important details and hear from the teacher about your child’s day. And don’t forget to make time for parent conferences and school events to help you stay connected.
- Consider the educator’s expertise. At a high-quality early childhood program, teachers have educational backgrounds in child development and experience with a wide variety of children at different ages and developmental stages. However, they don’t know how your child acts at home and you, in turn, don’t know how your child acts at school. Sharing information is the only way to take advantage of this valuable partnership.
- Your child is unique. Good teachers know and respect each child as an individual and know that most children develop in similar ways. Listen and be open to hearing what your child’s teacher has to say. While you may have two children and a few nieces and nephews, your child’s teacher may have known literally 100’s of 4 and 5-year-olds in their career and can offer valuable insights.
- Accept the bad news along with the good. Children are a joy, there’s no doubt about it. However, the same child that gently holds a ladybug and gives loving hugs can also — at times — be a child who hits a playmate or has difficulty following along with the group at school. Teachers know this and appreciate both the good and the bad. Please know that experienced teachers know that a problem at school is an opportunity for learning and can be faced together – it is certainly not a comment on your parenting or your child’s character.
- Enjoy this partnership. So often the relationship that parents form with a loving caregiver is one that is fondly remembered long after the child has grown. Large classes in busy public schools are not nearly as conducive to the close partnerships formed in early childhood. Don’t wish it away too soon.