Our “assignment #2” for #kinderblog13 is to brag.
As teachers, we like to brag on our little ones. This time, that’s a big no-no! Hmm… something I’m good at as a teacher….
I guess one of the things that I’ve heard over and over from my supervisors in the past and present, is that I am really good at connecting with parents. Some days, I’m not so sure, but this post isn’t about our doubts about ourselves, it’s about what we’re good at.
Much of my Early Childhood teaching experience has been in child care centers. When you work in child care, you really get to connect with parents. You almost become an extension of their families, as you spend 8 or so hours/day with their children. You can’t help but love those kids as you watch them grow from infancy to a school-ager, and your relationships become even deeper as each year goes on. Parents tend to linger a little longer both at drop off and pick-up to chat about their child, things going on at home, etc. At the centesr I worked at, my kids were also there, so they got to know my kids too. Many of the families were almost an extension of my family as well. These deep relationships are probably what I miss the most about working in a child care center.
For the past 2 years, and a 2 year stretch about 8 years ago, I taught in a preschool that was part of a school district. In our program, the parents wait in the hall with their children until we open the doors and invite them in. At the end of the day, they wait out there, and about 3-5 minutes before the end of class, I go out and tell them what we did for the day. I also talk to them about some of the developmental reasons we do different things, give them ideas of what they can do at home to help develop skills, etc. I have gotten very positive feedback from parents on this process. Parents tell me that they really appreciate all the detailed information I give them. When we only have their children for 2 – 2 1/2 hours, twice a week, it’s harder to build those deep relationships with the families that we did in the child care center. When they drop off their children, we are jumping right into class, and at the end of the morning class, we only have an hour to clean up, get ready for the next class, and eat lunch. The time frame doesn’t really allow for much chatting. 😦
I still think I do a pretty decent job of connecting with the parents that I can, but, admittedly, the relationships haven’t gone as deep as they did when I worked in the child care center. I admit, I’m a little jealous of Miss Kim who gets to spend a few minutes chatting with parents while I start circle time. She amazes me with the things she knows about the families! Also, it’s amazing what an extra 5 minutes or so a day can do for relationships! Next year, I’m hoping to do more communication through email, and hopefully, build some relationships a bit more that way. It’s not quite the same, but at least I’m making the effort, right?
We (my Assistant and I) must be doing something right, since I know of about 12 of the 19 children in our morning 4-5 class are going to be returning students that were in our 3-4 class this past year. We will be having 6 Special Ed slots added to that class, so that leaves pretty much no room for newer community kids. Looking forward to having so many returning students again! Can’t wait to continue fostering relationships with previous preschoolers and their families, and to develop new ones!