As much as possible, it helps to stay connected with your child’s teachers to monitor your child’s development and evaluate the quality of the services your program is providing to your child and family. Every parent wants the best possible care and education for their child, however, many families juggle busy schedules and may not have time to stay involved regularly in their child’s early childhood program. High quality early childhood programs will find ways to keep you informed about your child’s day-to-day activities and development as it fits with your schedule. We encourage you to discuss your needs with your child’s program so they can create a plan for how to communicate with you and keep you involved and informed while your child is enrolled.
A strong partnership between parents and educators is based on ongoing communication. The information that the teacher or program will share about your child’s development and day-to-day actions is important, as is the information you can share about your child’s behavior and activities at home. A quality program should offer multiple opportunities for teachers and parents to exchange information. Your child’s program and teachers should be regularly communicating with you through a time and channel that works for your needs.
Use the opportunities you have to speak with your child’s educators to
- Ask questions
- Share observations from your child’s actions and interactions at home
- Keep them informed about important events or changes in your child’s home life or environment
- Bring up any concerns about the program and your child’s development
Whenever possible, families should continue supporting the skills and learning that children work on in the classroom during the day. It’s equally important that programs take steps to incorporate each child’s home culture and family practices into the school’s learning environment. This creates a connection between home and school that provides consistency for children’s individual learning and development.
Examples of how you can maintain a connection between what your child experiences at home and in their early childhood program include:
- Requesting to borrow a book your child enjoys at school so you can read it at bedtime
- Asking your child and teacher what they are doing in school so that you can build on your child’s new interests and discoveries at home
It can be challenging to judge the quality of your child’s early childhood program without checking in to see how things are going. If you have the opportunity to drop in while your child is there, here are some things you can observe to help you gauge program quality:
- Activities that are going on, how many children are present
- How well the children are being supervised
- The conditions of the home or center
- Whether the children present seem to be enjoying themselves
- If there are any other adults present that you are not familiar with. Always ask who they are, their reason for being there and how often they are there
There are different ways to actively engage and participate in your child’s program. Some families can volunteer in the classroom while others with less time and flexibility need more creative options. Talk with your program to see if they can find ways for you to get involved that are meaningful to you and work with your needs and schedule.