Parent Teacher Conferences in Child Care

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There is a concern about Talika's speech delay. Vince's temper has become an issue. Developmental progress reports are completed.

These are some reasons a caregiver may have parent-teacher conferences. These meetings are also prime opportunities to learn more about the child and forge a partnership with parents.

It is advisable to establish an open line of communication and friendly rapport with parents before sitting down to a structured conference. Daily informal conversations may also serve as an effective way to share information, address concerns, and celebrate progress.

While planning the meeting it is crucial to be sensitive to the fact parents may come to the table with many different values and concerns. A parent's own cultural background and childhood are strong influences on their expectations for their child's development and behavior. The caregiver needs to insure they communicate respect for this as they promote an open dialog about the care of the child.

Even if there are concerns about a child that you need to discuss, it is important to establish a positive tone for the conference. Find a time and place that is comfortable for all participants. Start out with a positive remark or anecdote regarding the child's daycare experience. Focus on his or her abilities and competencies. Some good terms to keep a discussion of concerns positive include; needs further assistance, is experiencing difficulty, is now working on this skill.

Be sure to encourage the parent's input, they are the most valuable resource in learning how to best meet the needs of the child. If there is a specific concern, work together to develop a solution. By planning a specific action plan and follow up, you also reinforce the idea of a partnership.

As the meeting concludes, be sure to encourage the parents to approach you with any further questions or concerns they may have. As you began, end the meeting with something positive about the child. You want the parents to come away from the meeting knowing their child is well cared for and is a welcomed part of your program.

© 2004 Joni Levine


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