Engaging with parents…
I know this sometimes can seem like a really hard thing to do as parents are either extremely busy, or us ourselves as teachers have soooo many other things on our minds that this just slips by. However engaging with students parents and allowing them to be a part of the classroom and their child’s learning is extremely important!
At the school I currently teach at, we try our very best to provide opportunities for parents to come in and be a part of our school and their child’s learning. We hold community events, host information sessions around what their children will be learning for the year and provide multiple structured and free flowing opportunities for parents to come in and see what is being taught, as well as what work their children are producing.
However it is not easy to break down those barriers and get parents to come in… a lot of hard work from the teachers and the school makes this possible. Some parents themselves didn’t have very great schooling experiences and need us teachers to put ourselves out there, showing them we are great people who truly care about their children and their wellbeing.
We can do this in many ways which could include:
– Positive communication
This is such a huge step in creating a positive communication stream between you and your students parents! Call, email, message, or even send home positive notes to parents letting them know great things that are happening with their children. Let them know that Johnny has learnt his two times tables and that you are extremely proud! Print off a little award to give to students to show their parents and message them about it telling them why their child has actually received this award. Doing this will help you build that positive relationship with those parents and in time will make them feel more comfortable and willing to come see you in the classroom! I started this year off with parent ‘get to know you’ nights and noticed that a lot of my parents didn’t make a booking to come in and see me. After calling them all and talking about it I realised that some of these parents are just finding it difficult to make the time with sports commitments and their jobs. Personally calling them and telling them that they can pop into your classroom at any time and you will fit them in opens up a barrier for them, as they will now feel that you can be flexible and allow them to be a part of their child’s learning (even with extremely busy lives). I love doing this through the app ‘Class Dojo’ as communicating positive things in the classroom can be instant and private (which is one of my favourite features!!)
– Open door policy
This links nicely with positive communication! Lots of parents are unsure whether it is appropriate or if they are welcome in the classroom…. every teacher is different, so if you want your parents to know they can come in to chat or ask questions or anything, you need to tell them 🙂 Open up that door and let those parents in, get your students excited about sharing their work and having open communication.
– Create opportunities for engagement
Schools often have many community events that parents are invited to, as well as reward ceremonies, get to know you meetings and learning journey walk throughs. This is a great start and allows parents to start to develop a positive relationship with the school and with you as their teacher. However, creating other opportunities for parents to be involved will strengthen the relationship between you and the parent, allowing you to engage with your parents positively and more frequently. Some ideas to do this include:
- Invite parents in to read with students
- Provide opportunities for parents to help out with assembly performances
- Engage parents in the learning process through sharing the learning and the process for learning so students can transfer this knowledge across from school to home
- Allow parents to come in during presentations and speeches to see their children’s learning in action
– Continuous communication
Continually communicate with parents! Do this through any way you like as long as it is continuous. I personally like using the app ‘Class Dojo’ as I can communicate with parents in many different ways. Through this app I can individually message all of my students parents, communicating specific needs, achievements, awards and day to day casual activity. I can also share photos and videos of specific learning that is occurring in the classroom as they are happening. My students love this as they get to help me in writing the little blurb that goes along with the photo that their parents read. Students are able to be given positive reward points, which send a notification to their parents when received. This app allows the parents to have constant communication with their children teacher and allows us to constantly communicate with them in multiple different ways!
These are just a few tips and ideas around parent engagement! As I travel through the year I will keep you updated if I have found any more useful ways get to get our parents into the classroom and involved further in our learning 🙂
Please comment below different ways you have engaged your parents in your classroom!
I would love to hear all the wonderful ways we are including parents in their children’s learning.
Also if you are a parent and there is some ways you would love for us teachers to accomodate for you in our classrooms please let me know!
Love Mel xx