Establishing a foundation is the beginning of what we do in building a relationship. As educators, we take dedicated steps to ensure families have all the information they need at the beginning of the year to support their child/children. Open houses are held where families can come to “meet the teacher,” as well as the rest of our staff. A plan is presented on how communication will happen between school and home. This beginning is essential for a positive relationship to continue.
The start of the school year is full of many activities and connections. All of these shared beginnings will fade away if we do not work to continue to nurture and strengthen relationships. Sustaining relationships over time requires and thrives with frequent communications and connections. Sending newsletters, having updated websites, and adding social platforms and other sources of media communications are great, but those personal ones matter the most.
- Remind often of the ways to communicate and communicate often
- Reassure parents by demonstrating enthusiasm
- Demonstrate a positive attitude
- Learn and utilize names when talking with families. Sometimes names are different. Names are different for many reasons. Understand the families you communicate with by learning all you can before talking with them.
- Provide families with information about what is being taught and how to communicate with their children about their learning.
- Share the good news with parents as often as you can. When you have to speak about concerns, it will not be as difficult to talk if you have established consistent communication.
- Be an advocate. Helping families and others see we are all on the same side helps to reassure everyone.
- Ask—Just as in our families, when we notice changes in behaviors, academics, or actions, check with the family to see if there is something we need to help with or can support differently. Always be supportive, not accusing or pushing to know something we do not need to know.
- Prepare families when you ask them to meet with you. Tell them the meeting, who will attend, and the duration. No surprises.