This month we are discussing Family Engagement. This is not always as easy as some teachers make it seem. When you are use to working with children 8-12 hours a day, it can be very hard to know what information parents want and when they want it. So I am going to discuss how Mother Goose Time works Family Engagement into their curriculum every month.
Invitation to Create
The invitation to create is the art activity that comes in the curriculum, it is suppose to help the children expand their knowledge of different art techniques. While the invitation to create exposes them to different activities their individual art projects do not always look like what the end project example. So Mother Goose Time has set up a way to explain to the parents what they are working on and what they were suppose to take away from the project. This note has been very well received with the parents. They are excellent conversation starters for parents after a long day at work.
Another part of Family Engagement is the Childfolio. The Childfolio is a system that I can use to take pictures for assessment purposes and evidence. I can also use my tablet to take notes and have a direct line for parents to view crucial information about educational goals and achievements. Keeping parents in the loop in regards to their childs milestones in their education is very important because it prepares parents for Elementary school and it gives them a greater understanding of what issues their child maybe having. This tool also can help teachers develop a plan of actions more effectively. Parents are able to weigh in on anything they may see during the course of the day with the assessment pictures. We want the parents to feel part of the process when it comes to their child's education. This tool ensures that they are.
Celebration kits come in the Mother Goose Time kits. They supply the educator with fun party ideas. Many Providers and Teachers have celebrations that they like to involve the parents in, and these kits make it easier for the provider to plan a no fuss party. They come with a craft for the provider to have the child do with their parent or before the party, games and time limits for the activities. These kits give the parents a snap shot into the day of their child and allows them to see the interactions they have with the Provider/Teacher.
Something else to remember that is an oldie but a goodie is the parent notes. These notes let parents know what their child has done daily and gives them something to ask about during the ride home. Sometimes it is hard to get children to answer questions about what they did for the day if all you say is "What did you do today?" Sometimes all you get is a shrug or an I don't know. A parent note gives the parent the ability to ask about an activity directly. If the note mentions they made a project, the parent now has information about the project and can ask a direction question like "What did you make your turkey out of at art time today?" In this way the Provider/Teacher is providing an avenue for the parent and child to communicate and the parent is engaged in the learning process.
Remember that it is our job as Providers/Teachers to provide a safe educational environment and that parents can often feel left out and guilty with the amount of time their child is with us. Having ways for the Parents to participate in the classroom and helping to establish good communication between the child and parent is part of our job and helps create an open, trusting environment with the families.