Parent Involvement Linky Party
Mrs. Bee is having a linky party about Parent Involvement! I usually have 3 or 4 parents who go above and beyond expectations - they're at every function, volunteer to chaperone every trip, donate goodies for every party, send in more than their share of school supplies etc. If I send home a note, they have the reply in my hands by the next morning! I LOVE these parents of course! Most of the rest of the families do some of the above - whatever their schedule or budget can handle, and if I send home a note, I'm bound to get a reply within a week. I appreciate these parents as well. In fact, I have rarely had an issue with parents not being involved, which is very gratifying, it's always great to be able to handle everything at my level rather than having to involve the principal or counselor.
In the past I have tried to start the rapport at Back to School night - I have a powerpoint presentation about myself and the classroom that loops on my SmartBoard during the event so everyone can see it. I also try to greet each family and show them where their child's cubby is and have them complete a scavenger hunt activity.
My goal for parent/teacher conferences is 100% participation, so I try to schedule before and after school conferences and do my best to make sure I accomodate everyone's schedules. To keep appointments on schedule I try to have every child's file ready so there's no time wasted gathering paperwork.
I also send home a monthly newletter (Kelly's Kindergarten has GREAT monthly templates here) and notes about special events. I do email parents, but the majority of our parents do not have email access at home or work, so emails aren't very effective for me. Our school also provides every child with a planner - in higher grades the children write their weekly spelling words and homework assignments, but in kinder I just jot down a quick note if necessary and the number the child earned that day. The planner is the first line of communication and I am so thankful that Title I supplies it for us!
One of the most enjoyable way to reach parents is to stay by my door at dismissal. Since I teach kindergarten, I always make sure I see each parent before I let the child go - even if it's just waving at them. I have nightmares about getting calls about a child going missing, so I am hypervigilant at dismissal so I know who picked up each child. Even after all my kiddos are out the door, I stand by and enjoy a little sun - this way in case a child forgets something and needs to run back in, or a parent wants a quick word, I am readily available. My mornings are hectic (4 kids and myself to get ready and multiple drop off points!) so I rarely come in early but I do stay late a LOT. I make sure that the families all know they are welcome to stop by if the lights are on and my van is still there - I just make sure to let our janitor know I have a parent in my room and I never let in anyone I don't know.
Since our district houses pre-k seperate from the elementary schools, we also do a Meet & Greet in the Spring at the pre-k building. This way parents are told which school their child will be attending and has a chance to see some of our information. It's usually right around our life cycle unit so I get to bring my ladybugs and butterflys as well as some class books and sample work.This year we are going to see if we can do a similar event at some of the bigger daycare centers since a lot of our kindergarten kiddos don't attend pre-k.
One of the things that I give out at the beginning of the school year - usually at our Meet & Greet night, is my ABC's of Kindergarten handout. A lot of teacher websites have the same idea, but I customized this one for my class. Feel free to copy it and change it for your own needs!
Posted by Jennifer Knopf at Saturday, July 09, 2011