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How to Ensure a Good Relationship With Your ECE Center Staff

Best Practices

1/27/2022 | Mikhal Weiner

As a mom of a toddler myself, I know how daunting sending your child to school for the first time can be. I remember that first day my wife and I dropped him off at the door, gaev a hug, and said good-bye. My kiddo was fine; I cried all the way home. This is a big transitional moment, and it’s hard for a lot of reasons. It can feel like you’re losing your baby—they’re all grown up and off to school! Maybe you’re nervous about how they’ll manage a classroom setting, with all the competing needs of the children around them, or concerned about whether they’ll feel safe and happy with the activities. The list of worries goes on and on. 

For me, what helped me with this transition the most was the clear and open line of  communication the head teacher of our son’s school kept with us. Truthfully, knowing that we can reach out, no judgment, is still one of the greatest comforts my wife and I have as parents of a little one who attends a daily playschool. After all, there are plenty of tough moments he experiences as he learns to understand his feelings and continues to grow, learn, and make relationships with his peers. Knowing that the ECE staff and faculty have our backs is a gift. There are a few things that make this possible. 

Make expectations about forms of communication clear from the get-go. 

The lead teacher at our son’s school made it very clear how she wanted us to communicate with her at the very first parent-teacher meet and greet—before the school year even began. Non-urgent communication should happen over email, while urgent queries can be conducted over text. If things are especially pressing, we can coordinate a phone call. Under no circumstances should we call out of the blue. I love this directness and candor. By setting clear boundaries for us parents, we never have to wonder whether or not we’re bugging her or being a pain. Whenever something non-urgent comes up (a question about a book our son mentioned, e.g.) we shoot her an email. If he has a fever or bumps his head, we get a text. Easy. 

Give regular updates during those crucial first days. 

On those first few days, when I was still overwhelmed with missing my little one every minute of every day, we got text messages a few times a day with an update—usually something like “Just letting you know he’s doing well! We sang some songs and read a story!” By anticipating how challenging those first days would be, our ECE teacher scaffolded a smoother transition. Then, once we were through that first week, we went back to the system described at the initial meeting. 

Use technology to make sending daily updates easy. 

These days, we get daily updates on what the class is getting up to, but they’re sent to all parents as a group. This is made easy because our ECE teachers make use of ECE software to document activities as videos and photos, and to send those to us. With one or two clicks, all the parents can see a few pictures of their kiddos playing and having fun. This makes things a lot easier on both parents and teachers. 

Share various media from the daycare itself to create continuity.

As it happens, my son’s teacher is a former opera singer, and she includes a great deal of music in the curriculum. Some of the songs she sings at circle time are actually original tunes that she has written for the kids at the daycare, songs that my wife and I are (of course) not familiar with. Sometimes, though, our kiddo will ask us to sing one of these. Fortunately, we have audio tracks of all of these, which the teacher in question recorded and shared with us. This allows us to bring a little bit of the playschool into our home, and it helps to create continuity for our little one so that school and home feel integrated in a meaningful way. 

Remember that you’re on the same team. 

While you may not always agree with everything the staff and faculty at your child’s school says or does, remember that you both have the same aim in mind. Everyone wants your child to feel safe, happy, healthy, and enriched by their time at school. Parents and ECE teachers can sometimes find themselves at odds with one another, especially on a topic as personal and intimate as the education of our littlest learners. If you find yourself having trouble communicating with the teacher at hand, take a moment and a breath. Remind yourself that you’re all on the same team, that you all care for the child in the next room. Then try again.

(Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash)

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