The preschool teacher and the overall preschool experience is your child’s beginning in formal learning. Your child, and you as a parent are embarking on a very important educational experience. Your child’s preschool experience should be one that is positive and fun, while at the same time should also be the same for you as a parent.
One way to ensure the preschool experience is positive for both parent and child is to maintain a healthy relationship with the teacher. The teacher is your child’s first experience in learning respect and hierarchy outside the home. A preschool teacher is not only their to teach and guide their students, but to also help a parent in doing the same for their children.
Here are some strategies that you as a parent can use to work with the preschool teacher to ensure your child has a healthy learning experience.
Before the preschool year commences, your preschool should have a policy in place that interviews each parent. At this interview you will not only be asked integral questions regarding your child’s health care providers, but is also an opportunity for you to get to know the teacher.
You should ask the teacher about her methods, any plans she may have in place and also what she hope to achieve in her preschool teaching. In turn, you should also advise the teacher what you too hope to achieve for your child and their school year.
This is an opportunity to get to know the teacher better, away from the preschool learning sessions, which can be hectic at the best of times. Always give all your contact details, discuss your aspirations for your child and advise the teacher of any behavioral difficulties you are experiencing with your child.
You may also ask how they discipline children in the classroom and if she has any advise for you to try and use at home.
If your preschool is one that encourages parental participation, you may be asked to fulfill some hours in a roster or help with special activities. Some preschools may need parent helpers at each session, someone to help with the children or to cut fruit and clean the classroom. This is a great opportunity for you to see the teacher in her environment with your child.
Offer to help with any laundry that may need to be completed, or if you have a trade or skill that may be useful to the preschool, offer your services.
Depending on the age of your preschool child, they may also have outside activities they do, for example excursions or library visits. Offer to assist if needed at any of these activities.
JOIN THE COMMITTEE
There is no better way to become an integral part of the preschool community then volunteering your time on the committee. There are many tasks that a committee is involved in, from management of funds, organizing money-raising activities, to general Works that need to be completed around the preschool.
To participate within the community of the preschool and work with the teachers, the committee is a great place to establish this.
If your child is discussing an activity they did at their preschool session, always ensure you tell the teacher how much they enjoyed it. If you are observing other types of behavior that is not usually displayed from your child, discuss it with the teacher to see if she has observed the same.
Together you can work together to help your child overcome any difficulties they may be having, or working together to help your child navigate new tasks they may be learning.
It’s important parents and teachers communicate any behavior, or things that may have been mentioned but not wholly understood by teacher or parent, so each can discover what the child was trying to communicate. For example, recently my son was discussing his half-brother with the teacher, claiming emphatically that he had dinner with us the previous evening. The teacher is aware which week we have the stepchildren over and this night was one that was out of the ordinary. She mentioned that my son stated that his brother was over for dinner the previous evening, and then I confirmed that he was.
FOLLOW ALL PRESCHOOL POLICIES
This will include the time in which you are to pick up and drop off your child, any food that needs to be given that day, or any “rules” a parent must follow regarding preschool daily activities.
DON’T OVERSTEP THE BOUNDARIES
Although preschool teachers love to discuss a child’s activities with the parent, try not to constantly get their attention or phone all the time to talk about your child. A teacher’s time is limited and between sessions is very hectic. Make the occasional welfare check if you were unable to see the teacher before or after a session, but try not to constantly hinder her limited time.
Try and arrange a time or meeting that your teacher can see you if you have any particular concerns you need to discuss.
Last of all; show your appreciation to the teacher for her efforts with your child and their learning. Always say thank-you to the teacher, treat them with respect and show you truly do appreciate them. If you know their birthday, remember to arrange a small gift for the teacher and don’t forget her at times of gift giving.
Establishing a good working relationship between teacher and parent is integral to a healthy and positive learning experience for all concerned. Always respect the teacher for their efforts, their time and their experience and work together for the benefit of your child’s learning and growth.