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Keeping your family-school partnerships strong

written & curated by michael grose & the parentingideas team
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29 January

Essential teacher's guide to building strong family-teacher relationships

Submitted by:
Michael Grose
During the month of February through a mixture of one-on-one meetings and whole group forums with parents teachers need to communicate and gather the following information from parents:

1. Create awareness of the immense benefits for children's learning when parents support the school and also their children as learning. Don't assume parents know this. Outline the benefits their involvement and interest has on their child's learning.

2. Establish parents' obligations to their child's learning and to their school. Great relationships are built on reciprocity so spell out for parents how you expect them to support their child and your class at home. Expect them to read every night for ten minutes? Want them to go over a child's home tasks before they attempt them? Then spell these expactations out.

3. Outline the opportunities that you will provide for parents to assist in the life of your class, whether its hearing kids read, helping out with electives or being a class tutor for some subjects. Be clear and specific about how they can assist you.

4. Find out parents' goals for their child for the coming year. "What's one thing you'd like your child to achieve this year?" is a question that every parents needs to be asked. Help them articulate their thoughts by asking good questions. 

5. Outline your goals for the year as a teacher over and above what your school is trying to achieve. It maybe that you'll have a real focus on social skills this year. If so, tell parents this and then let them know how they can help you achieve your goals at home. 

6. Introduce parents to the physical layout of their child's classroom. In primary school, in particular, familiarity with their child's classroom and what happens within it helps parents have good learning conversations at home. A weekly class blog containing news and photos can have a similar effect for parents who can't make classroom visits.

7. Begin gathering family knowledge including details of who lives at home; each child's birth order and other relevant family facts. Record this information in a Families Book with a page for each child, adding information to the book as you learn more about each family.

Building strong family-teacher partnerships in these ways will help you become more effective as a teacher and will also make your teacing life so much easier.

You'll get ongoing professional development to help all teachers build rock solid relationships with parents when your school becomes a Parentingideas PLUS PD School. Find out more.

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