From the desk of Lower School Director Kelly Banik
The Value of Parent Preparation for Parent-Teacher Conferences
We at Moorestown Friends value the time offered by parent-teacher conferences to meet with families to share their child’s school successes (socially/emotionally and academically) and to set goals for their child’s continued growth for the remainder of the school year.
As the Harvard Family Research Project has found, when parents and teachers talk to each other during conferences, each person can share important information about the child’s talents and needs. Each person can also learn something new about how to help your child. Below are some tips to follow from the Harvard Family Research Project for parent-teacher conferences so that everyone wins, especially your child.
Top Tips for Parent-Teacher Conferences So Everyone Wins
A two-way conversation. Like all good conversations, parent–teacher conferences are best when both people talk and listen. The conference is a time for you to learn about your child’s progress in school. But it is also a time for the teacher to learn about what your child is like at home. When you tell the teacher about your child’s skills, interests, needs, and dreams, the teacher can help your child more. Be sure to share any changes you have noticed in your child since the start of the school year.
Emphasis on learning. Good parent–teacher conferences focus on how well the child is doing in school. They also talk about how the child can do even better. Be sure to bring a list of questions that you would like to ask the teacher. Possible questions include: is my child finishing the work assigned in class, how can I help my child at home, what strategies does my child use when working in a group/independently, is my child performing at grade level?
Opportunities and challenges. Just like you, teachers want your child to succeed. You will probably hear positive feedback about your child’s progress and areas for improvement. Be prepared by thinking about your child’s strengths and challenges beforehand. Be ready to ask questions about ways you and the teacher can help your child with some of his or her challenges.
Between busy drop-offs and pick-ups, it’s a rare gift to find dedicated time to speak with your child’s teachers. By thinking of your role and what you can do for parent preparation for parent-teacher conferences, you can utilize the time well to see how everyone can support the child best.
Kelly Banik has served as the Lower School Director at Moorestown Friends School since 2005 and oversees Preschool – Grade 4. In addition to her administrative work, Kelly has taught at the elementary, middle, undergraduate, and graduate levels. For over 20 years she has worked with educators on topics including curriculum design/mapping, instructional methods, classroom management, and professional growth. She has completed all coursework for a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware, has an M.A. in Cognition and Instruction from the University of Delaware, and has a B.A. from Drew University. For more information, see her bio here.
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