15 Ways to Build Parent-Teacher Communication
Effective parent-teacher communication is the foundation of a successful early childhood education experience. When parents and teachers work together as partners, children thrive, and their overall development is enhanced.
As an early childhood educator, fostering open and consistent communication with parents is essential for creating a supportive and collaborative learning environment.
In this blog post, we will explore 15 valuable strategies to build strong parent-teacher communication.
Tips for Parent-Teacher Communication
- Daily/Weekly Behavior Chart:
A behavior contract is a great method of documenting goals and communicating with parents. More specifically, if there is a behavior concern that families are wanting to correct at home, this traveling folder allows the parents to see the child’s efforts at school.
In turn, parents can reward, intervene, and write messages for the teacher to see. The teacher then has a better understanding of strategies being implemented at home. This will show the student that both the teacher and his/her parents are working together to help him achieve his goals.
2. Weekly Newsletters:
When writing a classroom newsletter, include standards you are working on in class, tips to practice at home, homework, and upcoming events.
While weekly newsletters are a great method to build parent teacher communication, I strongly suggest keeping your information bulleted or formatted into small sections. Parents simply don’t have the time to sit down and read a full page of long, detailed, paragraphs.
Parent Communication Log:
Parent communication logs are an excellent strategy to build parent-teacher relationships. Print a parent communication log for each student at the start of the school year, and keep it in a binder or folder on your desk. Grab the parent communication log, mark the date and time, and quickly jot down notes. As you communicate with parents throughout the year, you can quickly refer back to previous conversations kept on the log – showing parents you care and respect the information they share with you.
4. School work:
At the start of the year, remind parents to truly take a moment to look over the their child’s work. If their child’s work is marked wrong, that is a method of communicating the child is having difficulty with that skill. I know it sounds silly, but this is the most used form of teacher communication that parents often overlook.
Quarterly progress reports:
Progress reports can either be found online or sent home from the school.
Organize workshops or informational sessions on relevant topics such as child development, positive discipline techniques, or early literacy. These sessions empower parents with knowledge and build their confidence as partners in their child’s education.
A photo is worth a thousand words. Send parents photos in emails, on post them to an app on your phone. Sharing photos are a great way to share achievements, as well as indisputable behavior moments.
Sometimes a phone call is the best way to assure there is no misunderstanding from an email/letter/etc. Use the parent communication log mentioned above to document your conversations.
Conferences don’t have to be limited to the designated conference nights on the school calendar. Both you and the parents are busy. Respect one another, and find a short block of time that works for both of you. Invite the parents in to discuss progress, highlights, and concerns. Sometimes, a sit-down, face-to-face, conference is the best method of parent teacher communication.
Send a quick email right from your phone or school computer. If working, they often can’t answer phone calls or find time to come in for a conference. An email allows parents to read your message on their own time. Hopefully, they will respond.
Traveling class books:
Traveling class books are perfect for elementary classrooms. Usually based around a theme or a favorite children’s book, the kids write and illustrate a page, which will be compiled into a class book. The class book is then rotated to go home with each child and be returned to school.
The kids LOVE sharing class books with their families. They are an excellent way for parents to compare their child’s work to others.
To save you time, I have created a complete set of printable parent letters, including the traveling class book letter shown below.
Utilize a Communication App:
Explore digital tools or apps that facilitate real-time communication, such as ClassDojo, Remind, or Seesaw. These platforms allow you to share photos, videos, announcements, and progress updates with parents, fostering ongoing dialogue.
Sometimes the emails and apps can get overlooked. Year after year, I found myself scrambling to jot a quick parent letter to send home. I would rush as the students were getting packed up, or as I was trying to find time to eat my lunch. To solve that problem, I created these wonderful parent letters to keep in my files, and simply send home if needed. They are a HUGE time saver! You can check them out, HERE.
- Parent Volunteers:
Invite parents to volunteer at the school. They can be a birthday reader to help celebrate birthdays at school, or get volunteers in the classroom on a regular basis. This will give them an opportunity to see how their child is interacting in the classroom.
Host a Skills Night:
Invite families to come and learn more about reading, science, math, etc. Share strategies to practice at home, inform them of your practices in the classroom, and offer opportunities for the families to engage in activities. This will give parents an opportunity to learn best practices to help their child succeed.
Building strong parent-teacher communication is an ongoing process that requires dedication, empathy, and collaboration. By implementing these 15 strategies, early childhood educators can cultivate an environment where parents feel involved, informed, and valued. Remember, effective communication not only benefits the child but also establishes a supportive partnership that enhances the overall educational experience. Together, teachers and parents can empower young learners and help them reach their full potential.
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