Building a classroom community and relationships within that community is a vital part of teaching young children. Building relationships start before the school year even begins. There are many things you can do to build healthy relationships that are reciprocal, engaging, fair, compassionate and connected.
Ways to Build Relationships From The Start
- Welcome Post Cards: (snail mail) When you reach out to families before school starts they see your commitment and dedication to your profession, your classroom, and to your students.
- Back to School Night: is for the entire family to engage in the classroom environment, meet the teacher and learn about the school.
- Parent Parties: when you hold your first Parent Party and the ones thereafter, this helps build the home school connection, builds trust, teaches lessons and allows families to have a choice and make decisions—building a relationship that crosses back over into the classroom environment.
- All About Me Bag: I learned so much about my students doing an “All About Me Bag”. They were able to bring what they enjoyed doing at home or what their favorite color etc.
- Classroom Environment: the environment must be conducive to all students learning and their abilities. All centers, lessons, and activities need to be differentiated for each and every student and set high expectations for every student to achieve.
- Classroom Jobs: In a community each person contributes in a different way. Assign each child a different job to perform so they can develop responsibility and a sense of ownership of the classroom and community.
- One–On One Lessons Activities: One-on-One time allows you time to really get to know your students. During this time spend time asking questions (oral language, practice speaking in complete sentences).
- Centers: Centers that allow children to engage in hand-on lessons allow children to practice skills that are taught. Children are able to self-reflect, predict, practice in trial and error situations, and role-play. Teachers can assess and work with and or engage with students to further their knowledge.
- Notes/Catcha Being Good: Positive reinforcement in the classroom helps children understand their successes, and in what areas they can in improve.
- Procedures, Routines, Schedules: When teachers model, teach and consistently practice procedures, routines, and schedules students know what to expect and they know what is expect of them. This builds a trusting relationship with the teacher.
- Be Popular with Your students: possess energy, encourage students, be thoughtful in the way you teach, the things you do and say and always be positive.
- Extra Curricular Events: visit children’s events outside of school. Attend a play, birthday party, pageant, show, anything that shows you are involved and you care about what your students are doing outside of the classroom environment.
This article gives only a few ways to connect with your students. I challenge you try some of these with your students this new year, and involve families on a regular basis. Make sure building relationships and a classroom community becomes a number one priority. Take these ideas and make them your own. Have fun doing what you are doing and things will come naturally.
This guest post was written by Tisha Shipley. Tisha has a doctorate of education in Curriculum and Instruction and has taught multiple grade levels at Moore Public Schools, including pre–K and gifted 3rd–6th graders.
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