Good parent communication is a huge part of any positive preschool experience. Parent communication doesn’t only play a part in the trust building process between parents and the school, but having multiple adults actively involved can also help the child’s learning development.
In order for parent-school communication to work, a structure must be in place from the beginning. At the admission stage, it should already be clear to both parties how they will interact with each other and how regularly they meet outside school drop off and pick ups. A good relationship, like any, is built on mutual trust and understanding, respect and transparency.
It is also easier to provide individual care to each children when there is a two-way view into the children’s lives, ie. parents knowing what potential difficulties the child is experiencing at school and vice versa.
Students, who experience a lot of support from home and from their teachers, engage less likely in negative behaviour.
When a preschool makes it easy for parents to get visibility into their children’s preschool activities on a daily basis, it adds a new level of transparency, leading to a more trusting relationship and parents feeling involved.
The role of education technology in preschools
It is quite common these days for a preschool or kindergarten to have some in-house or external technology to help with learning tracking, lesson plan delivery and documenting children’s development and daily activities. This kind of educational technology often extends to communications between parents and the school staff.
In FinlandWay® Schools we use a platform, which benefits not only the administrative staff, but also the teachers and the parents. Teachers can use the platform for daily programme delivery, student assessment and documenting the learning activities. Parents can get daily insights and periodical reports about their children’s activities at the kindergarten.
Traditional methods of communication are still important
While education technology, different apps and platforms are extremely useful and effective in today’s communications, there are still many more traditional ways to build connections between parents and preschools too to support the chosen technology;
- Open house events
Open house events are a great way for parents to get to experience the environment their children spend their days in, first hand. It also offers the preschools an opportunity to introduce new learning spaces and for example explain the pedagogical reasoning behind design choices. Often children feel very proud showing their parents around in “their own world”.
- Parent evenings
Parental evenings are a good way to collectively share information about the preschool, the ongoing learning period, themes and projects, holiday times, changes in processes and anything else that involves the entire group. They allow parents to ask questions that might benefit others too, and add a sense of community. These events offer valuable networking opportunities for the parents too who might be in a need of peer-to-peer support!
- Parent-teacher meetings
Parent-teacher meetings are very important in the individual care of each child in the preschool. In these meetings, parents and teachers discuss the child’s learning development, any difficulties, achievements and their individual early childhood education plan. Parent-teacher meetings are an opportunity to ask questions, gain important information and agree on the best ways and approaches forward.
- School newsletters
Preschools can establish monthly/quarterly newsletters where they can share what’s been happening at the school in the last while. This could be for example sharing pictures of the children’s artwork and explaining why a certain thematic project was important and what the children learnt during it.
How to overcome challenging parent-school relationships?
For some parents, starting kindergarten can be the first time they’re trusting their child with someone else for long periods at the time, and therefore especially emotional. Some parents might experience feelings of worry and this can easily translate to the school staff as disappointment or not trusting their work.
For teachers, it’s important to acknowledge that every parent wants the best for their child. Parents are valuable partners who can help teachers to gain insight into their child’s personality, interests and home behaviour. Teachers, on the other hand, will learn to know the child as a learner and how the child behaves and interacts in the classroom. Forming a holistic view of the child is important because only through that understanding can the teachers best support the child’s overall learning and development – and this can only be achieved through cooperation and open communication between parents and teachers.
At FinlandWay® Schools, a lot of time and consideration is spent on building strong and open relationships between the preschool and parents through multiple methods and platforms. The wellbeing of the children is always at the heart of everything we do and the best way to ensure this is through supporting the child from all sides together.