It all boils down to Regular Parent Communication. A School’s number one priority should be to foster reciprocal relationships with each of their families. Students benefit from a solid School-Home relationship, and Parents learn to value the time that you and your team invest in their children. When you take a moment to involve the family in decisions, they trust that you really do want what is best for their child.
1) Personally welcome each family and child
This is simple: make a phone call. Send a welcome announcement in the mail, send a welcome letter the first week of school, and post a welcome on your website and any social media that you have. If you reach out in multiple ways, they will eventually see that you care enough to say “welcome to my school, I am so excited to work with you and your child this year.” (Other ideas: post a welcome banner, wreath on your door, take a picture with the child your first week of school and send home a note, etc).
2) Organize a Back to School Night
Back to school nights allow families to get to know the school environment, the classroom, the teacher, and other families. These events help families get the feel of what their child will be doing each day. Most importantly, they realize how happy and safe their child is in your hands. You can have activities for Families to have fun with, snacks to eat, and family pictures up on display.
3) Organize Monthly Parent Parties
Parent Parties help Schools build relationships with families as the year progresses. Teachers can show families how to teach different skills at home, you can invite guest speakers to talk about child development, and allow time for families to talk to them and one another.
4) Plan School-wide adventures
Take families on an adventure of fun and learning. You can do this with families only or invite children and families on interesting trips and just show you care. You are taking time out of your day to get to know your students and families better – and they will notice.
5) Open the Door
Allow families in your School environment. Model respect and how you want the relationship to grow through not only your speech but also actions. Remember, when Parents are asked about your school, it’s what you did, not what you said that influences their opinion!
6) Interview Families
This can be done through a paper “Get to Know Me” or a face to face conversation. This can be about anything – work, hobbies, what their children like and are involved in, ways they can help their child, etc. Families appreciate Open Dialogue Schools, so you will have less frazzled and better informed parents.
7) Classroom Helpers
Give families a project or a purpose. They can help a group of children, read to children, work one on one with a child, copy papers, cut out projects, decorate bulletin boards, etc. An inclusive environment helps Parents feel like they are not missing out on their Child’s Learning Moments!
8) Go Digital/Social Media
Build School or classroom websites: Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube Channel, Periscope, blogs, etc. This is a recent article about Involving Families Through Social Media. If you follow my classroom website it will link you directly to all other forms of digital presence I use to engage families in my classroom.
9) EdTech Tools
Parent-Teacher Communication need not be time consuming and overwhelming! Consider using School Communication tools like Kaymbu that are designed to eliminate the rigor & countless hours spent on Parent Updates. From Simple Photo & Video Sharing to Parent Messaging & Newsletter Creation, Schools can send Visual, Customized Updates directly to Parent Emails-– all with little effort.
Regular Parent-Teacher Communication is essential for long-term partnerships between School and Families. Often times, Parents want to know more about their child’s day but don’t necessarily know how to reach out. We must give the families a purpose for coming to the classroom, for calling us, for wanting to help or ask questions. Keep your environment welcoming, encouraging and most importantly, a place where the school and family are a team. Strengthen relationships with your families, leave no doubt in their minds that your school is the best choice for their child, and Increased Parent Satisfaction will naturally follow!
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.
You can find Tisha online in these places: