School has started and parent conferences are just around the corner. I wanted to share a few tips to make this a more meaningful experience for you as well as for your families.
Sit beside the parent at a table, rather than behind a desk.
Keep the conversation focused on the child.
Have samples of the child’s work to share with the parents. Focus on the total child, including intellectual, physical, social, and emotional development.
If there is a problem, brainstorm solutions and develop a plan for action.
End the conference on a positive note by reassuring the parents and thanking them for their support.
Provide an interpreter for parents who do not speak English.
Follow-up with the parents after the conference.
Below is a questionnaire that I used to help parents share information about their child and to guide the conference. I asked the children, “Would you like me to give your parents some homework? Well, here is something they need to fill out and bring to our conference next week.”
Note! If parents show up without the form, simply smile and say, “I’ll give you a few minutes to fill this out before we get started.”
Please fill out this form and bring it to your conference on __________________at _________________.
1. My child’s favorite activity at school is________________
2. My child expresses concern about_____________________
3. My child’s strong qualities are__________________________
4. Areas I feel my child needs to work on are_____________
- Something I would like to see my child do at school is _______
6. Is there any special information about your child that you think we should know about?________________________________________________
Cheers and Goals
Here’s another idea for conference time. Ask parents to write down three things positive (cheers) about their child and three goals that they have for their child. This will give the teacher insight as to what is important to parents. It will also provide the teacher with the opportunity to say, “This is what I can do at school to help your child accomplish these goals. What can you do to help at home?”