Communication between home and school is vital for a child's success. It should be regular, two-way, and meaningful. As a parent, you are encouraged to contact your child's teacher to ask questions about your child, or to inform the teacher about important family circumstances (e.g. birth of a sibling) that might affect your child's performance in school.
Times are built into each year's school calendar for conferences to facilitate parent-teacher communication. A parent-teacher conference is a time when you and your child's teacher can talk about how your child is doing in school. It is a chance for you to ask questions about your child's progress and the class. It is also a time for you and the teacher to work together as a team to discuss ways to help your son or daughter.
Following are suggestions for making these conferences meaningful for you, the teacher, and your child. These tips were compiled and shared by Eastchester elementary school teachers.
A Parent-Teacher Conference gives you a chance to:
- Get to know your child's teacher.
- Learn about what your child is learning in school.
- Discuss your child's strengths and weaknesses.
A Parent-Teacher Conference gives teachers a chance to:
- Get to know your child better.
- Better meet your child's educational needs.
Getting Ready: things to do before the conference
- Sit down and talk with your child about school.
- Try to keep the discussion positive. Ask about their favorite subject, part of the day, etc. Also, ask if they have any concerns or problems they would like you to discuss with the teacher.
- Make a list of important and pertinent information about your child. For example:
- Study habits at home
- After-school activities and interests
- Feelings towards school
- Special family circumstances
- Develop a brief list of questions you would like to ask the teacher about your child. For example:
- Daily schedule and routines
- Special services and programs the school offers
- Homework policy
- Interactions with other students and teacher
- Make arrangements for childcare for younger children.
- Friends or other parents with conferences on the same day may be able to care for young children during the conference time. This will enable you and your child's teacher to talk without distraction.
- Remember your pre-conference preparation.
- Bring paper and your list of questions and notes with you.
- Be on time.
- The teacher will probably have conferences before and after yours. If you feel a need for more time, ask the teacher to schedule another conference for a future date.
- Both parents should try to attend.
- Single parents and non-English speaking parents should feel free to bring a relative or a translator.
- Begin and end on a positive note.
- A comment about the classroom or your child's likes can help to break the ice.
- Listen with an open mind.
- Remember you and the teacher have a common goal!
- Tell the teacher any pertinent information.
- Important experiences may be affecting your child.
- Take notes. It will help you remember the main topics and follow-up plans that were discussed.
- Develop a home follow-up plan.
- This could mean new rules or routines, contacting other agencies, or a reward for a job well done.
- Take some time to discuss the conference with your child.
- Tell your child what you and the teacher talked about.
- Be positive! The better your child feels about him/herself, the better he/she will do in school!
- With your child, set simple goals that are easy to attain.
- Set aside time each day to talk to your child about school.
- Keep your child's teacher informed of any new information or changes.