To increase the interaction between parents and teachers we have decided to introduce two new methods. First of all, home visits of all students at the beginning of session. We have already started with KG-1 students and hope to do the same for pre-nursery and nursery in the month of June. Second of all, we want to improve the way “open house Saturdays” are conducted, from next session teachers will give a small workshop of next fortnights curriculum along with the regular interaction. More details:
Class Teachers visit each student’s home for about 15 minutes in the first one to one-and-a-half months of the academic year. The bond created by this and the understanding got by the teacher regarding the various aspects of the child’s background and the child herself is of immense value. This truly helps her to play the role of a nurturer and facilitate the overall development of the child.
These visits are coordinated with parents and it is necessary for both parents and the child to be present during the Home Visit. All other family members (e.g. grand parents) are encouraged to be a part of the discussion and give their inputs. The purpose of this visit is to learn about the home environment of the child and also know the people living with her.
The focus is on rapport-building between the family and the educator. This helps the child to get the most effective guidance from both home and the school. The home visit is the first step to unite the educator and the parents with the single-minded goal of what’s best for the child.
The questions asked during the visit cover areas like the socio-economic background of the family, likes and dislikes of the child, general health (including medicines) and habits of the child, friends in the neighbourhood and concerns of the parents regarding the child. Home Visit is an opportunity for the class teacher to discuss the philosophy of the school and help the parents understand what the school expects from them. The discussion also helps her identify the various areas requiring guidance and also the reason for any particular behavioural pattern displayed by the child. Apart from questions, she also observes and makes a mental note of various points like the neighbourhood environment, the parenting style, lifestyle, etc. Educators are expected to accept no hospitality other than water! WE politely but firmly refuse all offerings, even tea or coffee. The educators take time out after the regular school hours and make these visits.
Renewed open house Saturdays
Regular fortnightly workshops will be conducted by the class teachers for the parents to enable them to know the agenda in school for the next two weeks. The class teacher will teach the mothers & fathers what she is going to teach their children in the next two weeks.
Research shows that programs that teach mothers to improve the quality of cognitive stimulation and verbal interaction produce immediate effects on the child’s intellectual development. It is seen that the level of involvement of mothers in the initial years of rearing is high and a mother is always the first teacher to the child.
When we have a PTA (Parent-Teacher-Association) that meets once or twice in a year, it serves no real purpose. Each blames the other over a cup of tea and samosas and the meeting is over with nothing purposeful achieved. The parents and educators should meet more often and develop a bond with each other. This can be done by meeting preferably once in two weeks but at-least once in a month.
These workshops will be held during school hours on 2nd & 4th Saturdays and time for one hour (generally between 10 to 11 am). A note will be sent in the school diary/email regarding the agenda of the forthcoming Workshop.
The focus is on the home-bound activities a parent can undertake to enhance learning. At times experts (e.g. psychologists or paediatricians) will conduct these workshops. The teaching methodology is explained and actually shown on the blackboard for a particular topic so that there is no conflict between the educator and parent style of guiding
the student. Thus parents and educators are working together for the child’s benefit. Any individual query regarding a particular student by a parent is strictly discouraged, as workshop is not the forum to discuss any one-on-one issues. Curriculum based questions by parents are encouraged. Parents are encouraged to share experiences they come across while guiding their child. At times rapport-building sessions are conducted in which the class teacher introduces certain games or a questionnaire like how well you know your child or how to boost the child’s self esteem etc. Parents share actual experiences or anecdotes from their child’s life.
We hope that these steps will help bring educators and parents close. Children benefit when the adults around them share common values about child-rearing, communicate with one another, and give the children consistent support and guidance.