Going to preschool for the first time is a big transition for a young child. It can also be a big step for you, watching your baby go off on his own to make new friends and learn new things. His world is expanding and he will soon have a new adult in his life – his teacher. She will spend hours each day with your child and will play an important role in his development. By establishing a good parent-teacher relationship with her, you will be helping your child have the best preschool experience possible. Here are some ways you can create a harmonious partnership right from the very start:
MEET THE TEACHER
Don’t wait until there’s a problem to get to know the teacher. Schedule a meeting before the first day of school. Introduce yourself and fill her in on any special needs your child might have such as allergies or extreme shyness. Ask her about the curriculum, her classroom policies, and what the school day will be like. This shows that you care about your child’s education.
OFFER TO HELP
Once the school year gets under way, don’t hesitate to offer your help. Teachers spend hours outside of the school day cutting and stapling, getting arts and crafts activities ready, and making other preparations. If you have the time and talent to help with any of these extra duties, offer to lend a hand. Your teacher will be forever grateful.
Just like moms and dads should have a united front when it comes to discipline, so should parents and teachers. Find out what the classroom rules are and reinforce them at home. If you take issue with the way your child’s misbehavior was handled at school, discuss it with the teacher in a non-confrontational way and away from little ears. Share your insight if a particular strategy works for you at home but also be willing to accept the same advice from the teacher.
A heartfelt “Thank You” on occasion does more for a teacher’s self-esteem than anything. It’s always nice to know you’re appreciated for your hard work. Mark your calendar so you know when Teacher Appreciation Week arrives and remember to send a card or small gift to school.
Make sure you drop your child off and pick her up on time every day. Teachers have lives outside of work too and there’s much cleaning up and preparing for tomorrow before she can go home. If you consistently show up late, you are sending the message that the teacher’s time isn’t important to you. A little chit-chat with her at the end of the day is fine but schedule a conference if you want to have a lengthy discussion about school.
KEEP IN TOUCH
Check your child’s backpack or folder for notes every day. Many preschools send home a daily report on the children’s behavior and learning. If your child needs a change of clothes or it’s your turn to send a snack, respond promptly. An occasional note from you to the teacher asking if she needs anything would be a thoughtful gesture.
Building a good relationship with the teacher is one of the best gifts you can give your child. It shows that you are a united team and will give him a sense of security as he ventures out into the world. Preschool is just the first step in a lifetime of learning and a good parent-teacher relationship ensures he’ll start off on the right foot.