A word, or actually many words, about interacting with your child’s preschool teachers. November is usually a busy month at preschools as they gear up for parent/teacher conferences, holiday parties, and performances, along with some holiday time off.
First, a word about parent-teacher school conferences. Note that these conferences name parent as the first word. That is because you are the most important part of the parent-teacher conferences. It’s your time to ask questions and give feedback. Parents are in the driver’s seat of their child’s education, while teachers are the navigators from signpost to signpost, you will guide your child’s school career. Learn from the teacher everything you can about helping your child through this grade and stage.
Not all preschools have parent-teacher conferences. However, if you have something you need to ask the teacher, or have something you need changed, please request a conference directly. Do not attempt to talk to the teacher about something that is important while she is surrounded with children and/or other parents. She cannot give you her full attention and you will not have satisfactory results.
Something that often comes up is how different holidays are celebrated, or not celebrated, at school. Some preschools do not allow birthday parties at school, while others observe all holidays. Larger schools usually have their holiday policy printed out. Smaller schools may rely on the individual teacher’s discretion. If there is something that makes you uncomfortable with the school’s policy then conference with the teacher for possible solutions. These can range from changing school policy to keeping your child home from school for a day.
To me, nothing is cuter than the preschool stage performances. Know that they rarely go as planned because these are children, not professional actors. However, the kids— along with the parents and teachers who worked so hard on the show—still deserve your respect. Please be on time and don’t disrupt the program by leaving before it is finished because your child has finished his part. Shows are a very big thing in a preschooler’s mind, they need to see that you think so too.
As much as parents plan and stress out about holidays, there are always a few who forget to check the calendar for the days of no school. They show up expecting to drop their child off for class and then continue to work. Know that the school is usually not in session during school conferences or may only be scheduled to be open for half days.
Enjoy the holidays. Children, their preschool, their classmates add another layer of fun to the season. You will have delightful memories to last forever.
Evelyn Satterlee, M.Ed.
P.S. Holiday gifts for teachers are unnecessary. However, if you feel generous, teachers always need more classroom supplies.