How to Conduct a Successful Preschool Parent Teacher Conference
This post was originally created and published by Procare Solutions on October 13, 2022. You can find the original piece here. It is reprinted here with permission from Procare.
A strong focus on family engagement helps build connections with the families you serve, and their word-of-mouth advertising is invaluable in helping you grow your enrollment and revenue.
If you’re looking for ways to increase family engagement at your preschool, consider hosting parent teacher conferences!
A daycare or preschool parent-teacher conference, according to kidshealth.org, is a great opportunity to:
- Share academic progress and growth based on classroom observations, testing data, assessments, portfolio and assignments
- Learn from parents or guardians so you can be better informed about students’ strengths, needs, behaviors and learning styles
- Discuss enrichment or intervention strategies to support students’ learning
- Discuss issues that may be interfering with students’ learning and growth
How Do I Start a Parent Teacher Conference?
Try to give parents as much time as possible to schedule these meetings. A website such as signupgenius.com is helpful for parents to see what time slots are available and to sign up online. And send reminders!
Create a folder for each child with examples of their work and what you’ve been doing during class. This will help you show to parents what their child is excelling at and what areas could use more work.
You might consider having an action plan ready. Here’s a conference report sheet to check out that could serve as a good template for you that includes a good section on a child’s behavior.
Have a clear outline of what you will discuss, and try to keep to the points you want to make. Covering any concerns that parents may have told you about.
And when you’re conducting the conference, the most important thing to remember is ALWAYS start with the positive! Begin each conference by saying something kind about the child. Some examples would be describing how well the child sat still at a recent story time (especially if this is something you’ve been working on with the child) or did a great job painting a picture.
It’s just as important to end the conference on a sunny note.
How Long Does a Parent Teach Conference Last?
Around 20 or 30 minutes is a good timeframe for a daycare or preschool parent teacher conference. You want parents to have time to ask questions and for you to show all the great things that are happening at school. Some parents won’t need that long, but the parents who do have a lot of questions will appreciate that you set aside enough time to provide answers.
The Global Family Research Project recommends spending part of the meeting just getting to know the family before discussing academic progress. The group also says to show respect for each family, avoid “you should” statements that sound judgmental and learn from the knowledge parents have about their children.
Be flexible by being available by phone or video conference (such as on Zoom) when an in-person meeting doesn’t work for the family. Getting off work to come to a conference will be difficult for many parents. They might appreciate being able to log onto their computer during their lunch break instead of asking their boss for time off to attend the conference at your preschool.
How Often Should Parent Teacher Conferences be Scheduled?
Twice a year – once in the fall and again in the spring – is a good schedule for daycare parent teacher conferences.
The fall conference could be your first time sitting down with parents to discuss their child. It sets a bar for you to talk about what you’ve observed and discuss the child’s strengths and challenges. Then in the spring, you can revisit those topics and talk about progress or set new goals.
What Are Some Examples of Parent Teacher Conference Questions?
You should be prepared to answer some of the most common questions that parents will have.
Here are a few questions from Reading Rockets that you can anticipate parents will ask about their preschoolers during a parent teacher conference:
- What is my child expected to learn?
- How will this be evaluated?
- What are some examples of my child’s strengths and weaknesses?
- Is my child participating in activities?
- How are my child’s social skills?
- Does my child seem happy at school?
- Have you noticed any unusual behaviors?
- What can I do at home to help support my child’s learning?