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How to Conference with Your Child’s Teacher

by Dr. Susan Canizares | October 3, 2014

Soon you’ll be seeing information on parent-teacher conferences at your child’s school.

“Conferences for my young child?” you might say to yourself. “Why?”

Many parents think, “I see my child’s teacher every day at drop-off and pick-up. We always talk about how things are going. I don’t need to go to a conference.”

Yes, parents of young children in early education settings do have the wonderful opportunity to speak with teachers and caregivers daily. But, those few minutes of casually touching base or checking in cannot replace a sit-down meeting with your child’s teacher.

A parent-teacher conference is time without distractions or interruptions to discuss your child’s growth and development, and how they’re progressing along the School Readiness Pathway.

So, when it comes to conferences, start with the commitment to attend. As the primary expert on your child, you know there are often differences in behavior, temperament, and skills when you’re not with them. Come prepared to listen and learn! Teachers have wonderful insights on all the learning happening at school. Expect to receive detailed information about developmental milestones your child has achieved, what is currently being learned, and what lies ahead.

To make the most of that crucial conference time, here are a few key tips to consider:

  • Be prepared to share. Teachers want your input. Every aspect of a child’s life is connected to how they learn and grow, so be open and honest about life outside of school.
  • Listen actively. Ask questions to be certain you have a full understanding of your child’s current growth and development and what’s to come.
  • Set aside your urge to defend your child. If your child’s teacher shares concerns or challenges, listen carefully and work with the teacher to form a strategy for your child.
  • Be open to suggestions. Act on suggestions for working on skills and behaviors at home.
  • Be your child’s champion. Advocate for your child when needed, but remain open-minded when challenges or potential problems are brought to your attention.

For more helpful suggestions to prepare for a parent-teacher conference, check out the ”For Families” page of the National Association for the Education of Young Children website.