Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Importance of Back to School Night

I just enjoyed another Back to School Night – something I will never tire of. There are many advantages for both the teacher and parents during this session. From the teacher’s perspective, I get to meet many of the parents I don’t otherwise see in the halls at school. Working moms and dads generally make an effort to visit their children’s Back to School Night to actually see the teacher in person. I find it invaluable to meet as many of my students’ parents as possible.

It also allows the teacher an opportunity to tell the parents what her priorities are. From mundane tidbits regarding the correct size of the backpack to more important toileting matters, to most important learning concepts, an open dialogue between the teacher and parents is imperative. The session gives teachers a chance to demonstrate what their kids do every day at school. It’s hard for parents to imagine how a three year old actually learns, and this is our opportunity to share the curriculum.

Finally, this night forms a bond between the teacher and parents. While it isn’t the time to talk specifically in detail about how a child is doing, it is a chance for the teacher to tell the parents how adorable, kind, special, their child is.

From the parents’ perspective, it’s an opportunity to experience what their children are doing on the other side of the classroom door. They can see the teacher’s learning style and find out what they can be doing at home to support in-class learning. For example, we urge parents to allow their children to practice cutting at home because it’s a difficult skill that requires a lot of practice. We even show them the type of scissors to buy and where they can purchase them.

The parents also get to meet their children’s peers’ parents at this meeting. Play dates are invaluable, and now that the parents know each other, they are eager to set up get-togethers among their kids.

But, the very best part of all is the incredible slide show. We had almost 100 pictures of our students in action. They painted, laughed, played, and learned and the parents got to see them uncensored.

A big thank you to my classes’ parents because they all took the time to get babysitters and come to Back to School Night. What an enjoyable night it was!

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