During the first few weeks of the new school year, many schools host a Back to School Night so families can meet their children’s teachers and other parents. If you went to Back to School Night, you hopefully became familiar with classroom life, school policies, your child’s curriculum, and the best ways to support your child’s learning at home. For many families, however, the next point of contact with your child’s teacher may not be until the parent-teacher conferences. If you’re eager to stay informed and engaged in your child’s education over the next few weeks, here are some fresh ideas to get started.
- Children love a guest star! If you have a skill you want to share that you think could impact your child’s classroom, get in touch with your teacher to see how you can help. Many parents come in to read a book out loud, lead a music lesson or sing-along, or talk about their job or role in the community. If your family speaks a language other than English at home, connect with your child’s teacher about how you can use this skill to help bilingual students and enrich the whole classroom. The teacher may ask you to help translate labels or anchor charts in the room, or even record yourself reading a book in your home language for the listening center!
- Create a Community of Parents. Connect with the other parents in your child’s class. You may have met some of them at Back to School Night or other school functions, but if you’re hoping to get in contact with more, ask your child’s school about the policy for collecting contact information from interested parents. If you don’t have time to come into your child’s class, building a support network of parents outside the school is a great way to be in the loop about classroom activities and school life.
- Go Ahead and Reach Out! At Back to School Night, you may have learned your teacher’s preferred method of communication, whether it’s a phone call, email, or quick chat during pick-up. Never hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher with questions about the homework, anything that happened at school that day, or what you can being doing at home to support your child’s learning.
Research shows how critical it is for parents to stay involved in their children’s education, no matter the time of year. When your child sees you communicating with their teacher and getting involved in their classroom, they see the importance of school. Whether you’re able to volunteer in the classroom or help translate materials from home, there is always a way to get involved!