What to Tell Parents?

 by  Alissa Ryder, Infant and Toddler Teacher at the Dimensions Educational Research Foundation’s Early Education Programs.

There comes a time, actually many times, in every teacher’s day when parents arrive animated and thrilled to see their child and they turn to you with hopeful eyes and ask, “so… how was their day?!”  The question is inevitable and if you’re anything like me you’ve been preparing for this exact moment since you first interacted with the child in the morning.  Of course you mention something positive and something specific but I propose you take it one step further.

What we have here at Dimensions is distinctive.  After all we are a Nature Explore school and our students do precisely that- they explore nature!  I suggest we weave our uniqueness into our conversations with parents and show them an aspect of their child that is related to their interactions with nature.

I think this is a beneficial effort on our part for many reasons. We are educating parents on their child’s interests outdoors which may lead to similar activities being conducted by adults and in turn promoting healthy families. We are engaged with our children outdoors and we are subliminally advertising the advantages of a nature school!

9 responses on “What to Tell Parents?”

tinar says:

As a parent, these types of communication from my child’s teacher are the most powerful. I know that my child has been truly, deeply engaged in fun experiences AND I learn why those experiences are valuable to his development. I want to hear the great story, but I also want to know what my kiddo learned while he was playing.

jmckain says:

What an excellent idea, Alissa. A subtle but powerful way to bridge the gap between children connecting with nature in a classroom at school and opportunities for families to connect with nature together at their homes and in their communities.

huskerbp says:

Talk about teachable moments! Well said, Alissa. How many of us take our environments for granted? We are either “inside” or “outside”, and “outside” is a whole new world every day, especially in the eyes of a child. By capturing the interest of children when they are young they will continue to engage everyone around them in the endless possibilities “outside” has to offer.

chrisk says:

Great suggestion Alissa! I agree, that just like all of us, parents need to hear ideas many times before they really resonate. Sharing about fun, meaningful experiences we have outdoors with the children we care for will help parents understand how valuable these times really are.

kmarie says:

I think you nailed it on the head, Alissa. Our kids have so many wonderful and meaningful experiences during the day, especially when they are outside. As a parent, it is the little things, that I hear about, that make me feel the most connected. Our children are greatly impacted by those moments, and hearing about them allows us, as parents, to build off the experience.

Ellen says:

Alissa is right on the mark with this! We do not talk nearly enough about what is happening outdoors and how strongly this is connected to children’s learning. We want parents to know what’s happening in their child’s day but we also want them to fully understand how important nature is to the lives of children and what that looks like in our program. It is very easy to change our language just a bit to include nature stories in our daily communications with families. Thanks for the reminder!

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krisv says:

Wow Alyssa…just discovered your wise words. I look forward to our Analysis time together on Wednesday with Dana. May you connections with parents and children be as wonderful as your word. Kris

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