Communicating with Parents

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To teach well, we must know children well, and parents can help us do that better than anyone. Parents can share knowledge of their child’s strengths and challenges, unique perspectives, and other invaluable insights.

Parents can also support their child’s learning at home. When we let parents know what’s being learned at school, they can talk about those things with their children and even plan activities that build on that learning. Family engagement helps children build academic and social skills and reinforces the importance of what they’re doing at school.

Strong, positive, school-home communication can take various forms, depending on what’s comfortable for you and appropriate for the parents in your community. Whichever strategies you choose, though, keep these key ideas in mind:

  • Start early, preferably before school starts.
  • Communicate frequently, on a regular schedule, and in a consistent format (website, email, phone calls, note in Friday folders, etc.).
  • Keep everyday communications brief, focused, and positive.
  • Invite responses. Try to make it a conversation, with both sides listening and talking.
  • Empathize, reminding yourself that all parents are alike in one way: They all want what’s best for their child.

Two-way communication with parents builds a firm connection between home and school. Aim to set a positive tone for this communication from the start of the year and then maintain it. Parents will appreciate your efforts—and you and your students will benefit immensely.

Adapted from the What Every Teacher Needs to Know series, by Mike Anderson and Margaret Berry Wilson

August 2011, Responsive Classroom Newsletter, Original Link:

Mike Anderson is an education consultant who leads great learning throughout the United States and beyond. He is an award winning teacher and the author of many books. You can follow him on Twitter at @balancedteacher.

  • Mike Anderson
    Mike Anderson is an education consultant, award-winning teacher, and author of many books including What We Say and How We Say It MatterThe Well-Balanced Teacher, The First Six Weeks of School, The Research-Ready Classroom, and Learning to Choose, Choosing to Learn. Learn more about Mike and his work or invite him to work with your school or district through his website: Connect with Mike on Twitter: @balancedteacher.

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    Mike Anderson
    Leading Great Learning
    Durham, NH
    Phone: +1 413.658.7907

    Leading Great Learning

    Mike Anderson is an energetic, experienced, and highly sought-after educational consultant who helps facilitate great learning in schools all over the United States and beyond. He has over twenty years of experience as a teacher, consultant, presenter, and developer and has authored many books and articles about great teaching and learning.