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Communication with parents
Wietske Boon

Parents leave their most precious possessions in the care of the teacher at school. When they ask their child at the end of the day how their day were they usually reply with ‘nice’, ‘fine’, ‘okay’; etc. That is why parents rely on the teacher to communicate with them.

On the other hand, the teacher takes over from the parent and needs to be informed about any issues that might influence the child’s behaviour during the day.

Looking after the child is a communal responsibility and communication is of utmost importance. Parents don’t necessarily see the teacher on a daily basis when taking the children to school or collecting them in the afternoon.

Parent meetings

It is a good start for a new year to get all the parents together and discuss the daily routines, supplies the children need to bring to school, school rules and policies.

Quarterly parent meetings should be held to discuss the individual child’s progress.

Parent meetings should not be limited to these pre-arranged dates, but should also take place when the teacher or principal finds in necessary to discuss any developmental or behavioural delays or problems.

Meetings can also be arranged by parents when they have the need to discuss issues with the teacher or principal.

Brief recordings can be of great value later on when a teacher or principal needs to refer to a previous meeting with the parents.

Information evenings

Children experience certain behavioural difficulties at certain stages of development such as biting or potty training around the age of 2 years. Invite a professional person to discuss these issues with the parents to educate them on handling these difficult developmental stages. Parents appreciate the support and understanding from the community.

0 – 2 years

The parent of a baby needs daily updates on things such as feeding times, nappy changes and sleep routines. A baby can’t communicate feeling e.g. tired or sick. Best practice is to record these things and have it available for the parents either in a communication book that goes home, a recording file that stays at school or both.

 

Date

Time

Feeds

Nappies

Sleep

Comments

Parent signature

2/11

8:00

Breakfast

3 wet

08:15 – 09:45

Had a

 

 

10:00

Milk

1 dirty

 

good day

 

 

12:20

Lunch

 

13:00 – 14:45

today

 

 

12:50

Tea

 

 

 

 

 

15:30

Milk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/11

8:10

Breakfast

4 wet

08:30 – 10:15

Cried a lot

 

 

10:30

Milk

 

 

today

 

 

12:40

Lunch

 

13:15 – 15:20

 

 

 

12:50

Tea

 

 

 

 

 

15:45

Milk

 

 

 

 

 

Have space available for parents for written communicate with the school should it be necessary.

If at any time you need to contact the parent urgently, phone the parent to discuss the matter.

2 – 5 years

A communication book is effective to keep the channels open between the school and the parent. This book can be used for sending general information to all parents, but it can also serve as communication regarding progress, behavioural changes and incidents. Note that the administration regarding communication books should not replace any contact time. Keep it brief.

Send artwork home on a daily, weekly or quarterly basis so that parent’s are aware of their child’s progress. Should there be any developmental delays, this can be communicated to the parents and handled appropriately.

You can make use of a ‘What’s App’ group to keep parents updated on the children’s activities and to communicate important information with them such as reminders for special events etc.

Again, if at any time you need to contact the parent urgently, phone the parent to discuss the matter.

Important information to put in a communication book AND in the recording file

Communication books can get lost – keep record of important information in the recording file as well.

The school rules can include the following:

An example of the necessary policies includes:

 

An incident register should be kept in case when a child gets hurt or one child hurting another.

Date

Time of incident

Details of incident

Phoned parent

Signature teacher/principal

Signature of parent/s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medication may only be administered with written consent from the parents. Should the child get sick at school, the parents can be notified (preferably by SMS, What’s App or e-mail, so that the teacher has proof of the parents consent to administer medication).

The school’s medical policy should be communicated to the parents.

 

Date

Medication

Time administered

Amount

Reason for medication

Signature of parent

Signature of teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abuse and neglect

Should any of the following incidents occur, an incident report must be completed at the office and the incident discussed with the principle to take further actions (Call to Arms: child protection manual for ECD centres).

or bruises on the child indicative of an object or handprint;

or the child reports domestic violence that involves a weapon of any kind;

or child is not picked up after school;

or the child reports critical risk or injury due to possible neglect or lack of supervision.

or child comes to school under the influence of drugs/alcohol or unknown medication;

or the child reports sexual abuse, has blood-stained clothes or underwear;

* should the underlined parts be true contact the police or the child protection organisation.

Parent involvement

Many parents are keen to be involved with school activities. Keep them informed on things such as theme-discussions (they might even contribute to your theme table) or to join in on excursions or incursions at school.

Communication between the school and parents should be of such nature that the parents feel comfortable and welcome to contact the school. If the parent feels comfortable and welcome at the school at any time, so will the child.

Wietske Boon is the mother of a one year old boy and play therapist in private practice in Waterkloof Ridge: wietske@childtherapist.co.za; www.childtherapist.co.za

Resources:

Call to Arms: child protection manual for ECD centres. The Nataniël Progress Project. www.nataniel.co.za; progress@nataniel.co.za; 012 667 6018.

Stakeholder participation in early childhood development in Polokwane circuit, Limpopo province by Patience Engela Mpakela Malete: http://ul.netd.ac.za/bitstream/handle/10386/1037/malete_pem_2013.pdf;jsessionid=DA7AD13B5A389A8BAA061FFB6451D105?sequence=1



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