Formal education may stop when the bell rings at the end of the day, but children can and should keep learning and exercising their development at home. However, with many families being too busy or unprepared to aid in their children’s learning development, how can you ensure the young children under your care are being active and engaged after they leave your classroom?
The key is to prepare and equip families with the knowledge and resources they need to continue fostering their children’s learning. After all, “Parents are their children’s first teachers,” says Joyce Monfort, instructor at the Rasmussen College School of Education. “Children watch everything they do and say.”
It’s important to leverage this family dynamic to help support and solidify what’s being taught in the classroom. Here are four examples of ways teachers can include and aid families on their child’s educational journey while away from the classroom.
4 tips for getting families involved
1. Create a class website or blog
Creating a website is quite simple and a great way to keep parents and families informed on the goings-on in your classroom. Teachers can keep a calendar of topics covered, along with any assignments or expectations. Parents can then aid in their children’s development by reinforcing what’s learned in the classroom and preparing for what is coming next.
2. Offer volunteer opportunities
A great way to encourage participation from parents is to get them inside the classroom. Providing opportunities for parents to be involved in the learning atmosphere gets both kids and adults excited. Volunteer options can range from assisting with educational activities during class to chaperoning on field trips, or helping to plan classroom parties and events. Be sure to offer flexible options for working parents, such as organizing fundraisers or helping out with any after-school programs. You’ll also want to ensure you are adhering to any regulations your school or center may have in place.
3. Keep clear and open channels of communication
One of the most important things you can do for families of your students is have an accessible method of communication. Whether it be an email you check daily or a direct phone number, this will encourage parents to reach out with any questions or concerns they may have. Share this contact info at the beginning of the school year, along with examples of what they can talk to you about. The more open and accessible you are, the more likely parents will be to discuss important matters about their children with you.
4. Be flexible
Many parents and guardians work during the day. Remember that scheduling an open house in the morning or conferences in the afternoon may not be conducive to all schedules. Be open to providing a variety of options to encourage participation from all families. The more flexible you are, the more likely parents will take an interest and attend.
Enlist the support of families
Parental involvement is crucial to child development and continual education. As a teacher, there is only so much you can contribute during the school day—the rest is left in the hands of the families. Preparing parents with the right tools and resources can make all the difference in the lives of your students.
But what do you do when parents aren’t as pleasant as you hoped? Check out these expert tips for dealing with difficult parents.