It’s the start of a new school year which means it’s a wonderful time to think about how you engage with your students’ parents.
Below are five tips to think about when planning how to keep family engagement high all year long.
- Streamline communication: Think about how often you’re communicating with your parents. Are you batching all important info into one long communication or do you break it up and send a lot of shorter messages? Also, consider the way you’re sharing information. Do you use physical or digital documents, or a combination of both? We suggest using a single platform so nothing gets lost in the shuffle and sending as few messages as possible (making sure each isn’t so lengthy parents dismiss your correspondence). Regardless, evaluate how you relay info to make sure it’s efficient as possible to ensure productive communication between teachers and parents. After all, communication is the foundation of healthy engagement.
- Make it personal: You personalize lesson plans for children in your care, so why wouldn’t you also personalize your interaction with parents? In a classroom setting, personalization helps increase parental engagement because it demonstrates your interest and investment in making sure students succeed. For example, when delivering feedback on a student’s progress, make sure to reference any goals, issues or other info that came up in previous conversations or reports that are specific to the parent (and child). Trust us, parents will appreciate a more tailored approach and experience.
- Focus on the positive: Parents want to be informed about their child’s progress and know any areas of concern so they can help address issues at home. However, you don’t always want to lead with the negative – this can create fatigue and apprehension among parents which makes meaningful engagement more difficult. Whenever you need to deliver updates that could be worrisome, make sure you’re also highlighting the good.
- Encourage collaboration: There are a number of ways you can do this. For instance, ask parents if there are certain topics or themes they’d like to see you cover in the curriculum. Then, suggest complementary activities parents and children can do together outside the classroom walls. By soliciting their input and then sharing responsibility, parents will feel more accountable for the growth and development of their children.
- Say thank you: While it might sound obvious, a simple “thank you” is always an easy way to boost engagement. By showing appreciation and conveying gratitude, parents will realize their investment, including time and effort, isn’t lost on you. While a verbal thank you will always suffice, consider a thank you note in those special circumstances.
One final way to help increase engagement is by sharing helpful resources with parents. There’s a lot of great info out there, but there is only one source that was developed based on the same insights taught to early childhood educators.
ParentEducate.com offers 80+ engaging online courses that feature research-based techniques. Created by ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI), the No. 1 online trainer of early childhood educators, ParentEducate.com helps parents level up their childcare chops.
And now thanks to CCEI, parents at your center can receive 20% off a one-month subscription to ParentEducate.com using the coupon code MN1Month now through October 31, 2021.
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ParentEducate.com is where parents go to learn research-based parenting techniques. Launched by the same team behind accredited training provider, ChildCare Education Institute, ParentEducate.com offers parents the same level of quality classes as those taken by the nation’s leading early childhood educators. With ParentEducate.com, families can easily access a catalog of engaging web-based courses from anywhere, at any time on any device. For more information, please visit ParentEducate.com.