Subtle shifts in your approach could help trigger more productive parent involvement at the preschool level.
As an early education teacher, you are adept at dealing with different types of personalities, both with your students and their parents. Your ability to relate to parents and make them feel like a valued partner in the education of their child is key for encouraging parent involvement in preschool. Children with parents who are actively involved inside and outside the classroom show greater progress in vocabulary, language comprehension, and understanding number concepts, as well as higher self-esteem than children of parents that do not participate. Here are some tips to help you promote family engagement at the preschool level.
1. Start Talking
If you feel like you know the parents at your preschool already and they are still not volunteering, then you may need to start chatting with them more when you have the opportunity. Reach out to parents through email, phone calls, or by providing open office hours where they can get regular updates on the progress of their child. When parents feel they can be open and honest about any of their concerns, and you are proactive in addressing them, this helps establish a productive relationship that benefits everyone involved.
2. Create a Positive, Engaging Classroom Environment
One of the first things you can do to make your classroom feel like a welcoming place for both students and parents is host an open house just before classes start. You can meet the student’s families and begin a dialogue about expectations, volunteering, and address any potential concerns of the parents. It is also a great opportunity for parents to meet each other. Those relationships between parents could provide the encouragement needed to get more parent involvement in preschool throughout the year.
3. Let Parents Know Their Value
While what takes place in the classroom is of vital importance for developing minds, a child’s education is deeply impacted by what happens at home as well. Family involvement in early childhood learning can help ensure a child is always prepared for school, laying the groundwork for future academic success. Involving parents in decisions that can affect a child’s experiences in the classroom can help bridge the gap between school and home.
For teachers, parents can be an incredibly valuable resource given that they know their children better than anyone else. When you recognize the important role families play in a child’s development, and you are willing and able to utilize it in your approach to teaching, you are in a good position to provide students with a quality education that prepares them for the future.
4. Tap Into Different Skills
Chefs, artists, and balloon makers will be pretty easy to plan events around, but you may be left scratching your head with how to involve a parent who stares at spreadsheets all day. However, if you dig just a little deeper, you may find something that the parent loves to do that they can share with the classroom. And do not be afraid if a few events go poorly! You will learn over time how to best utilize parents with different and unique skills.
5. Pick Your Battles
Being a teacher is a balancing act. It’s a delicate system of trying to steer students in the right direction while working with parents to get the lessons and classroom expectations reinforced at home as well. One of the main goals for getting parents to become more involved is having open lines of communication so can listen and respond to their concerns. This will help limit any potential misunderstandings or possible resentment if they feel their child was not treated fairly. Give them a platform to talk where they won’t feel judged, and they will tell you what they want to see for their child’s education and how they see themselves fitting into it all.
6. Practice What You Preach
Just like a child will see through a begrudging parent, the parents will see through a teacher who is barely enthusiastic and going through the motions with their class. You can show them what you do and how much you care without overwhelming them. If you’re an amateur photographer, snap some shots of each child for a photo album or class collage. If you’re an artist, do some quick caricatures of the kids learning, playing, and actively participating.
Subscribe to courses on improving family engagement by contacting Naptime Academy at 844-435-7682.