Knowing that you have to go to meet your childâ€™s teacher may make you feel anxious. You may wonder what to expect from the school, and what is expected of you. Parent-teacher conferences are actually an incredibly important part of your child’s preschool experience. It is important to consult with your childâ€™s teacher about academics, social and emotional development as your childâ€™s preschool teacher will have a perspective that you may be completely unaware of.
Checklist: Before the conference
- Schedule a time to meet. Ask the teacher about available slots and block your slot.
- Review your childâ€™s work, and progress reports.
- Have a quick talk with your child. Does he/she like preschool? What does he/she like the most and the least at school? What is his/her favourite activity? Communicate with your toddler/preschooler that you are meeting his teacher.
- Make notes of the topics that you want to discuss with the teacher
- Make a list of questions to have a productive conversation with the teacher.
- Let the teacher know if there is a particular topic you want to discuss. If you want to talk about your childâ€™s progress in reading, the teacher will keep the supporting material on hand to aid your discussion.
- Be on time. Remember that other parents may also have their appointment scheduled for that day.
- Respectful communication will be the most effective way to work together with your child’s teacher. Remember that you both want the same thing: your child to learn and do well.
- Meet the school staff and sub-staff to ask about your childâ€™s strengths and needs.
What should you talk to the teacher about?
- Give specifics about your child- his home life, his social life and interests. Let the teacher know the childâ€™s life as some events can definitely impact a child’s behaviour. Your childâ€™s social and emotional development is as important as academic development.
- Take inputs from the teacher about your childâ€™s strengths and weaknesses. Ask her to provide you with specific details so may be able to provide some background insight. When you exchange such information, it gives you and the teacher a better picture of your child and helps you to plan his development milestones.
- Check on the progress. Find out how your child is doing by asking questions about her knowledge of learning, interaction with other children and willingness to participate in class discussions.
- Ask to see your childâ€™s work. Ask how the teacher examines the child work.
- Give your feedback. Discuss your concerns and share thoughts about your child. Explain what you think your child is good at and what he/she needs more help with.
- If your pre-schoolerâ€™s teacher mentions any developmental or behavioural issue, listen to what she has to say and create an action plan to work together. Understand in what ways you can help your child at home with lesson recap, reading, home task, behavioural issues, etc.
- Schedule another time to check on the progress. Make sure you have an agreed communication channel (in person, by phone, email) that is comfortable for both of you.
- Talk to your child after the conference. Emphasise the positive points you discussed during the conference and also explain what is expected out of him/her.