Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Parents and Teachers Must Work Together for the Benefit of the Child

Though it seems so obvious that parents and teachers should be partners for the child’s sake, too often there is a clash. With open communication, parents and teachers should be able to settle any misunderstandings. Both have only the child’s best interests at heart.

Sheila, at three years old, had an extremely difficult time separating from her mother. Each day, she’d cling to her mom, crying uncontrollably. One of the teachers would need to peel the child off her parent, and carry her into class. It would take a good twenty minutes for Sheila to calm down.

What made matters worse, was that Sheila came to school fifteen minutes late every day. By that time, the class had already begun circle time. Not only did Sheila’s arrival disrupt the class, but it took one of the teachers away from the rest of the group as she calmed the child down.

During the third week of school, there was clearly a pattern that had developed. Sheila arrived late and she needed the teacher to help her calm down. On one particular day, the teacher who typically took care of Sheila, was leading a cooking lesson. When the other teacher greeted Sheila and her mother at the classroom door, the mother said that only the other teacher could calm her daughter. As that was not possible, this teacher took the child, and had a conversation with her mother.

She pointed out that Sheila would benefit by getting to school on time. When she comes in fifteen minutes late each day, she misses out on the time the children get to settle into the classroom and talk among themselves for a little while. By the time she arrives, the lesson is already in full swing. The teacher felt that allowing Sheila to be part of the morning routine with the other children would help her separate.

For whatever reason, this mother did not appreciate that advice. In fact, that was the last day Sheila attended our preschool. Maybe the mother couldn’t physically get there any earlier. Possibly she had another child who had to get on a bus, and that was the earliest she could arrive. If that were the case, she needed to explain that to the teacher, so they could work together on the best plan for Sheila. Instead, she became offended by the teacher’s suggestion, and pulled her child out of school.

Remember that teachers and parents both want what is best for every child. Together, we can make their preschool experience great.

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