Here are a few things you might want to do during your conference conversations:
- Welcome and thank families for their participation.
- Remind parents of the goals of the meeting and the scheduled time frame of the meeting.
- Set a timer and be mindful of the clock. Let family members know you have set a timer out of respect for everyone’s time.
- Start by asking how they feel about their child’s development and progress at home and school. See if families have any goals for their child that the program can help support. Ask them to share any observations or concerns they may have about how their child is developing or behaving.
- Share copies of assessment materials, but focus your attention on the highlighted areas that you identified during your conference preparation. Remember to include both strengths and areas for improvement.
- Provide samples from the child’s portfolio to illustrate skills the child has achieved and those the child is working toward.
- Use growth-mindset language when communicating about children’s development. Phrases that communicate that a child is still working on certain skills are better than pointing out things the child can’t do.
- Identify goals for the child and talk about realistic timelines for reaching goals. For example, if a family wants their 3-year-old daughter to write her name, you can agree that writing is a program goal (even if it might not be a goal for this year). You can then share all of the fine motor activities that you use to strengthen skills and promote drawing, letter recognition, and kid-writing. Show samples of the child’s work from her portfolio and discuss strategies to move the child toward writing her name.
- Discuss the strategies that you use in the classroom to promote different skills and behaviors. Encourage family members to think of how they might adapt these strategies for use at home.
- If the conversation runs over the allotted time, offer a second meeting to dig into the issues at hand. Do so especially if the conference is running over a conference with another family.
- Take notes so that you don’t forget any of the details of your discussion. It may be difficult to take notes during your conversation, but be sure to capture the goals you set during the meeting. Immediately after the meeting, go back to your notes and fill in any missing pieces while your memory is still fresh.
For the main article Family-Teacher Conferences, CLICK HERE
For the article Things to Do Before Conferences, CLICK HERE
For the article Things to Do After Conferences, CLICK HERE
For the article Director’s Corner: Supporting the Process, CLICK HERE