Home and school are the center of most kids’ worlds. When teachers work together with the parents toward shared goals and with shared responsibilities, students’ academic and emotional growth and their well-being are enhanced and enriched. That’s why I talk with parents extensively about it during our traditional first meeting before classes start. We discuss how they can extend into the home the academic and emotional learning that kids began in class.
Communication is key
It’s essential that parents understand the goals of the classroom and the strategies and approaches that we are using, so students get the same message at home and school. We don’t want parents to reinforce bad habits unwittingly, as that would compromise the positive effect of what their kids are getting in school.
One of those goals is to recognize and manage one’s emotions and behaviors. In class, we use emotional check-ins and talk about our feelings with others. I discuss with the parents how to continue this work at home. I offer specific suggestions and share resources frequently to help them with their choices. For this particular skill, I love using “The Feelings Book” by Todd Parr, so I invite parents to read it with their kids. Shared reading brings fun, bonding, and a lot of interesting conversation that can extend our work into the home.
Just a few ideas go a long way
Last year, we worked on kids’ responsibility for keeping their desks clean and putting away materials. As usual, I shared with the parents a few ideas of games and activities that they could do at home. For example, cooking together and cleaning up the kitchen afterward. Soon, the children started talking with enthusiasm about cooking with their parents and helping them clean the kitchen. Some kids also started tidying up their rooms, encouraged by their parents. When families continued classroom work at home, it showed.
I was proud of my students. They had improved a lot in their emotional and behavioral skills. They could manage their emotions much better now, and our classroom looked tidy… well almost all the time. I was also proud of their parents, who were doing such a great job.
The importance of the continuity of learning extended into the home
When we can create partnerships with parents so they support our classroom work from home, everybody wins. Children consolidate their learning, parents enjoy the valuable moments shared with their kids, and we feel delighted with the progress of our students, enhanced by the help of their parents.