As an early childhood educator, I believe that it is crucial to partner with each child’s family, in order to have a successful year of progress. Each child has unique interests, strengths, needs, and family units. It’s important that we work hard to identify those early in the year so that we can both utilize information to support the child as a whole. Research shows that parents are the child’s main educator. The home environment has the greatest influence on a child’s development in both positive and negative ways. Many families need extra support providing the basic needs of nutrition, safety, and healthcare which can negatively impact their child’s overall development. When we help support the family as a unit and get them involved with their child’s education, we are able to better support the child as a whole. This provides great opportunities for the child do make even developmental progress and reach their full potential.
There are so many ways we can work to support and include the families of our children. One family activity that I plan to use in my classroom is monthly family projects. This would be a project that would be sent home with each child at the beginning of each month and would be completed as a whole family. Projects would be fun, creative and crafty using materials that are easily accessible to all families. This would promote family involvement, creative expression, and bonding opportunities for the child and parent.
Another way to support families is being upfront and open about communication all throughout the year. Parents need to feel safe to reach out for any reason. One way I plan to implement this is through family welcome letters at the beginning of each year. I’ll wrap up this blog post by including a rough draft sample of a letter I might use below. Feel free to use the comment section to provide any feedback, as it is much appreciated!
Example Text from a Family Welcome Letter:
Welcome to preschool! I am so excited to have your child, (Insert Name) in my class this year! I am eager to meet you and look forward to working with you to provide the best education opportunity for (Insert Child’s Name).
I believe that open communication is the first step to building a great parent and teacher partnership and will be a crucial component of your child’s success. I wish to encourage you to always feel comfortable to reach out to me with any questions or concerns along the way. I am here to support both you and your child during their preschool education journey.
Attached to this letter you will find a packet of information that will allow you to get to know me and allow me to get to know your family better. Please take the time to read over the information and answer all questionnaires that are included. These exist to help me get to know important information about your child, their interests, and your family unit. In addition to that, you will find a paper with the many ways and opportunities that allow you to get involved with our classroom. Lastly, you will also find a fridge magnet with the many ways that you can contact me via text, phone app, email, or phone calls.
Together we can ensure that this year will be fun, exciting, and full of growth for your child.