A Critical Component of Intentional Teaching
Raising Small Humans is Not Easy… Strong Parent and Teacher Partnerships Help.
Relationships are important to all human beings. As adults we lean on our significant others – whether they be a spouse, friend, sibling, or colleague. Those people serve as a foundation that helps us to navigate life: we celebrate milestones with them and we call on them when rough waters hit.
Of course… children have significant relationships too. A child’s parent / guardian is most often their primary caregiving adult. However, teachers are significant caregivers too. Many children spend more time with a teacher than they do with their parent in a given week. We must intentionally keep at the forefront of our minds that parents and teachers are the primary adults that guide children’s lives. With this in mind it is critical that parents and teachers intentionally work on forming partnerships with each other.
According to the Early Learning Network (ELN), positive connections between parents and teachers have been shown to improve children’s academic achievement, social competencies and emotional well-being.
When parents and teachers work as partners, children do better in school and at home. Research shows that when a partnership approach between parents and teachers is evident, children demonstrate better social skills, fewer behavioral problems and a greater ability to adapt to situations and get along. And parents and teachers benefit, too. When working together as partners, it’s been found that parents and teachers communicate more effectively, develop stronger relationships with one another and develop skills to support children’s behaviors and learning.
Iheoma Iruka, co-principal investigator of ELN’s University of Nebraska-Lincoln team sums up this message by stating, “Strong parent – teacher partnerships support children’s learning and ability to develop lifelong skills and networks, while also strengthening parents’ capacity to be engaged in their child’s school experience.”
The team at ELN offers tips rooted in “The Three C’s – Communication, Consistency and Collaboration.” The 3 C’s offer tips that parents and teachers forming strong partnerships. Here’s a snapshot of of the suggestions they offer…
Open, honest communication between parents and their child’s teacher is key. The best kind of communication is open, clear, constructive and timely. Frequent, two-way communication is important to for both parents and teachers in order to ensure that they are aware of what is happening both at home and at school. It is especially important that parents share with a teacher significant changes that can turn a child’s world into alphabet soup…(ie. death of a family member or pet, divorce, job loss, a change in housing, etc.). Understanding what is happening in a child’s life both inside and outside of the classroom enables parents and teachers to support the child AND each other.
Consistency is critical for children’s development across all areas of learning. Talk about methods for ensuring that you and the teacher are “on the same page.” A partnership that is grounded in consistency sends a consistent message to children that parents and teachers are aligned and working together.
Collaboration is easier for parents and teachers when their communication with each other is frequent and consistently aligned. This is especially important when a child needs extra support. If a solid relationship and communication channels are developed early, it is much easier to address challenges. Collaboration also helps parents and teachers work together to find solutions (without placing blame) and make plans that involve support and responsibility both at home and at school.
Finally, remember that raising small humans is not easy… Let’s lean on each other in partnerships that are rooted in communication, consistency and collaboration. Together, we are all stronger.
With the three C’s,
Kath Courter, Head of BCD’s Preschool