Real-time apps, such as Remini, Brightwheel, and Tadpoles, have become the norm as a method of communicating daily classroom activities with families. However, parent surveys show that families want more communication specifically about their child. Even when they love the teacher, their overall satisfaction is impacted by how much communication they are getting about their child’s experience in your school.
Here are three ways to up your game of teacher/parent communications:
- Facetime. In these times when face-to-face contact with parents is minimal and often does not allow for communication about a specific child’s day, set a time for teachers to Facetime with individual parents to discuss their child’s adjustment, progress, milestones, etc. One school does this by having teachers use naptime for this touch-point and scheduling it with families who are receptive to this type of contact.
- Happygrams. These are brief notes, indicating something positive a child did that day, such as “got close to taking a first step”, “wrote the first letter of his name”, “shared really well with a friend”, etc. Whether text, email, or handwritten postcard, this message about something very specific makes parents smile and feel you really are noticing their child individually.
- Teacher Forums. Here’s a great idea I got from a center in Las Vegas. Each week, at lunchtime, you host a 30-minute Teacher Forum on Zoom. This is a time when parents know they can log on, learn exactly what is happening in their child’s classroom that week, and ask teachers specific questions about their child. Teachers from one age group host the forum one day a week. Say, Mondays are for infants, Tuesdays for toddlers, and so on. Parents are invited only to the forums that apply to their age child(ren). For some of those parents who never see their child’s lead teacher, this can make them feel much more connected.
So think beyond apps as you plan ways to improve communication between your teachers and the parents of the children in their classrooms. Doing so will not only help your families be more satisfied as customers, it will help them feel a stronger sense of community with your school, and that can lead to higher retention, more referrals, and positive reviews!