Get Ready for Big School
Part 3 of 3 - Parent-Teacher Partnerships
26 July 2017
I loved being a kindergarten teacher. I remember so well getting my first check and thinking to myself, “Wow! I’m getting paid for this, too!” The children’s joy of learning, their enthusiasm, their potential for growth all made my teaching at this level one of the happiest and most exciting times in my years of teaching.
Along with the joy of working with children came the sometimes challenging experiences of working with parents. The big step to kindergarten or Reception year involves readiness of both children and parents. It’s the first formal school experience for many children. And for many parents, it’s the first up close and personal experience with their child’s teacher.
All of the following points highlight the crucial role you play in your child’s success in kindergarten. From a teacher’s perspective, here are four things that you need to know as a parent of a kindergarten child:
- Parents play a critical role. Kindergarten and Reception Year teachers value you as your child’s first teacher. They are honored to take their place as another significant adult in your child’s life. Pre-primary teachers want to facilitate your child’s continued development and help him learn how to be a successful student in a school setting. Welcome your child’s Kindergarten teacher as an important partner in your child’s development. Share what you have discovered about how your child learns and include examples of times when your child has learned something new.
- Kindergarteners fare best when families and teachers that work together as partners. The National Education Association's research tells us that when families are involved, children do better academically and socially. Kindergarten teachers are committed to developing a collaborative partnership with your family on behalf of your child’s growth and development. Tell the teacher that you sincerely want to work with them to help your child learn and grow. Ask the teacher to offer specific ideas and strategies that will involve you in your child’s learning.
Communication is key. Communication with families is such a high priority that kindergarten teachers are willing to use a variety of methods to correspond with you. Some parents prefer to connect via email or text, while others prefer to receive a phone call or a printed letter in their child’s backpack. Kindergarten teachers want to communicate in the ways that make sense for you and your family. Ask the teacher the best way to access information about the classroom and the school. Share with the teacher your preferred method of communication.
Teachers want to know what makes your family unique. The families of kindergarten children have varied backgrounds and different configurations. Kindergarten teachers want you to know that they value the distinctiveness of your family. Learning about those qualities and values that make your family unique, improve their ability to partner in the healthy development of your child. Tell your child’s teacher about the unique characteristics of your family. Let the teacher know about family changes and challenges at home that may impact your child’s attitudes and behaviors at school. Building bridges between your child’s kindergarten teacher and your family is an important step in supporting your child’s learning and development.
So, your responsibility doesn’t end when your little one crosses the threshold that first day of big school. Your job is just beginning. I know you have a lot to consider getting ready and then being a Kindergarten parent. In addition to information in this article, you may find it helpful to read my article about the Stages of Young Children’s Play and why Child's Play Is Major Work for more key information about your child’s development.
Here’s hoping that first day is wonderful for both you and your little one. Best of luck and let us know how it goes right here! And in case you missed it, here's Part 1 of my kindergarten prep series, 8 Parenting Tips.
Photo/Credit goes to SuperFriends! Wiki and its depiction the super hero cast of 1980.