Parent Teacher Conferences: Building a Partnership from the Start

The other day I read an article about how family members are the most influential people in a child’s life. As an early childhood educator, this validates the importance of a teacher-parent partnership. As a parent, you know how your child learns best. You know what kind of strategies your child uses in different situations. And you are of course very familiar with your child’s habits, strengths, and challenges. Sharing all of this information with your child’s teacher will benefit your child – a lot.

  • The parent-teacher partnership starts at a young age: through casual conversation at pick-up and drop-off, and more formally at parent-teacher conferences. Having time set aside devoted solely to your child’s development is an asset: it gives your child’s teacher the opportunity to hear how you see your child as an individual. It also gives you the opportunity to get to know what your child is like when they are at school – which can sometimes be fun and eye-opening.
  • Sharing information about home life helps your child at school: Teachers want the children in their classroom to feel comfortable. Communicating changes happening at home can help us do a better job – and it can help us understand any changes in their behavior at school. Whether they are dealing with a divorce at home or out-of-town visitors, we can keep an eye on your child and give them some extra attention if needed.
  • Sharing in between parent-teacher conferences helps your child too: Communication with parents really should be ongoing – so if you have any questions or concerns, hopefully you will feel comfortable bringing it to the teacher’s attention. You don’t have to wait for a teacher to identify opportunities for growth – this is where an ongoing relationship with the school should come into play.
  • Teachers can help you understand and decode academic assessments: Part of early childhood education today involves using evidence-based assessment tools. We use Teaching Strategies Gold, which is a comprehensive measurement of where each child is: academically, socially, physically, with gross and fine motor skills, etc. The report can be overwhelming if you haven’t seen it before. Your child’s teacher can take you through the information and put it in context for you and help you understand where your child is, what they should be doing next, and where they’re going.

I hope if you are a parent and you are reading this, you find your parent-teacher conferences worthwhile. I think building a strong relationship with parents of the children in my program makes a big difference – I’d like to know if you think so too.