As a parent, you want your child to be in the best school possible, a safe and happy place where she receives high-quality education and is supported by excellent teachers and staff. Schools also aim to provide the best educational experience for their students with the resources available to them. And, one of the best resources schools have is parents.
An effective parent-school relationship can help the child excel and ensure that all parties involved understand each other’s needs and concerns. Parents can get ideas about how to support their child’s education and gain a greater appreciation for and confidence in their child’s school. Teachers learn more the child’s home environment and each child’s individual needs.
So, how can you cultivate a positive and fruitful relationship with your child’s school? Here are several strategies.
- Start from a place of appreciation and respect
When starting a relationship with the school and your child’s teacher, make sure you’re approaching them with respect for their experience and their role in your child’s life. You want to create a mutually-beneficial partnership in which you can solve problems together. If there is a problem, try not to be confrontational or lecture the teacher or staff.
It’s also a great idea to compliment the teacher on her classroom (such as word walls, displays, etc.) or teaching style. Teachers work hard and it’s great to know their efforts are noticed and appreciated. And don’t forget to say thank you! A thank-you card or even a little gift can really help build a great relationship.
- Involve yourself in school activities
If your schedule allows it and the school offers such opportunities, try to volunteer in your child’s class, the school cafeteria, or as a chaperone on field trips and other activities. You can also help with school programs and clubs.
Involving yourself in these ways gives you the opportunity to get to know your child’s teachers and the school staff in a more informal fashion. It also gives you time to get comfortable with the teacher in a setting other than the standard parent-teacher conferences, which can be a bit stiff and uncomfortable.
- Allow your child to build her own relationship with her teacher
A young child’s relationship with her teacher is one of the first relationships she’ll have with an adult outside of the family. While you may want to intervene and help shape this relationship, try to take a step back and let your child develop the relationship on her own. This can end up being a very powerful and positive connection.
- Talk about the teacher positivel
Make sure you don’t talk negatively about the teacher in front of your child. It’s important to model respect for the teacher.
- Find out the best way to reach the teacher and administration
To help foster easy, appropriate communication with the teacher and staff, ask what method of communication they prefer. Some great, non-confrontational sentence-starters include “I’m concerned about my child’s…”, “I’ve noticed…”, “Have you considered…?” and “How can I help?”.