Does your dc's school have a "Curriculum night?" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 09-02-2009, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
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The two new schools my dc are in this year both have what is called "Curriculum Night." This is a new one to me! As I understand it, the parents walk through a very shortened version of their dc's school day, and each teacher explains the classroom procedures and what areas of the curriculum they will be covering.
Dh will be out of town, so I am wondering if it's even worth going, as I would have to leave them home alone for about three hours to make both kid's schools.

If you've attended one of these before, can you share yur experience? If I see it's worth going, do I need to come prepared to ask intelligent questions?

Thank you!

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#2 of 18 Old 09-02-2009, 10:31 AM
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If you can arrange to be there, I would. I personally think that any opportunity to be involved w/your child's teachers, school, curriculum, is time well spent. I like to know what the game plan is for the year, what materials are being used, etc. Sometimes valuable info comes up, such as whether a new curriculum or textbook is being used, or if there are particular expectations around a subject. I ahve found that when a curriculum changes, ie change in the math program, there can be differences in content, style or knowledge base expectations that are good to be aware of.

I think it's also good to let your child's teacher/principal know that you are invested in what's happening in the classroom.
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#3 of 18 Old 09-02-2009, 11:36 AM
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Our old school had this. I don't know if it was just a kindy thing, but I'm thinking it was for each grade. Basically we all met in the gym (kids were welcome to come along), and the kindy teachers introduced themselves, identified where their classrooms were, and talked about the year. Topics covered included things like special program setups - they'd team up 2 classes for certain projects, they'd split kids into 2 different groups for reading, etc. Any policies or expectations of the kids and parents were laid out, and there was an outline of both the brand of curriculum used and what was to be covered for the year. It was also used to answer any questions that the parents might have and address any concerns.

We didn't think it was a waste of time, but the school year wouldn't have been significantly more difficult if we hadn't gone.
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#4 of 18 Old 09-02-2009, 11:50 AM
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Not exactly, but that was a big part of the open house/pot luck at my daughter's school last night -- hearing about what the kids' days would look like, who would be teaching which subjects, and learning about some of the changes they've made for this year.

I would absolutely make arrangements to attend just about anything at my kid's school. It's important to be involved.

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#5 of 18 Old 09-02-2009, 12:35 PM
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Yes. We had the regular back to school night thing before school started, but now we are getting ready to have a "curriculum" type night. My kids are in a Montessori program within their public school, so the teacher will be sharing some of the materials, giving parents mini-lessons, explaining the philosophy a bit more in depth, and answer any questions. I think it will be really helpful b/c many of the parents are confused about the program and are just not sure how it all works exactly.

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#6 of 18 Old 09-02-2009, 12:54 PM
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It sounds like what our school calls "open house." I like it for the chance to meet the teachers. If you can't make it, you can't make it (I know what it is like to have a spouse who travels!)

I don't go with questions, but I do like to introduce myself to the teacher(s). It's way of opening those lines of communication.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#7 of 18 Old 09-02-2009, 01:05 PM
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I'd love something like that. Our schools open house is totally diffrent its jsut a chance for parents to walk around the classrooms really no examples of how there days really are. Last year it was soo busy we never ever got to say hello to our DD teacher.


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#8 of 18 Old 09-02-2009, 01:12 PM
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We just did this last night. I was expecting an open house, which felt so redundant after the pre-first-day "open house" and the "new parents dinner" for parents new to the school. I was pleasantly surprised to actually hear what the kids do when, when is a good time to schedule doc and dental appointments so they won't miss their twice a week lessons, what goes on in those twice a week lessons, who is teaching and interacting with my child besides his "homeroom" teacher, and what they general plan for the year is for each subject. We had the opportunity to look through their textbooks, see the plan for the year as far as science and social studies, flip through their journals and leave a note for them, and so on. It only lasted about an hour and was time well spent, IMO. Next year, though, DH and I won't both weren't allowed and we had to arrange child care. It will be easier for just one of us to attend next time.

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#9 of 18 Old 09-02-2009, 02:37 PM
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All of the schools in our town do this. Our school district has 6 K-5 schools and one middle school so the middle school one is on a different night. The local HS also has a night as well that is a different night. Then of course the preschool one that is next week!

Our school district calls it parent orientation. There is time to go meet the PTA and they get the budget approved for the year. Then there are 3 sessions broken out into 30 minutes. Such as 4-5 grades meets 6:50- 7:20, K-1 meets 7:30-8pm and then the remainder time is 2-3 grades. They also have some fundraising stuff to sample in the cafeteria as well as all the PTA committees to sign up for and parent teacher conferences schedule which is in November.

Being its our 3rd time going (dd in 2nd grade) we have planned with a few other couples to go out to dinner as well before the 2nd grade meeting. Since all the PTA board members are friends, I dont need to go to that so we really dont have to be there until 8pm. So we have my FIL coming over to have dinner with the girls and we are going out with the other parents to dinner and then the meeting.

I highly recommend attending. You will also meet other parents of the kids in your child's class. If not possible, leave the teacher a message today to call you back this week so you know what was done.

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#10 of 18 Old 09-02-2009, 02:52 PM
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Each grade has its own curriculum night here.

The PTA is not involved, it's strictly a school function.

Our program also has their own curriculum nights (by grade). I can't speak to what's in the general ed curriculum night, having never been to one, but in our program the teacher outlines basic guidelines/expectations/procedures while volunteering in the class (our program requires each family do 80 hours of volunteer classroom support during the year), a tour of the classroom to show us where all the materials are, ect, the basic plan for the year, a chance to look over the math/reading curriculum. We also get an overview of field trips and study units for the year. And it's a chance for people in the class to get to know their class rep for the program as well.

The kindy curriculum nights were more low key, it was more of an extended meet and greet with the teacher. Open houses around here are brief (an hour, the day before school starts) and they're not great opportunities to have a chance to talk to the teacher since of course they are wanting to be sure to greet and talk with the *students* primarily during that time. Curriculum night is a great place to ask questions and have some discussion with the teacher, though of course you aren't going to have a ton of time like you would at a conference.

I think they are worth going to. Even in general ed, many teachers will have extra sign ups for volunteering in class or at home there. So if you want to do that and haven't had a chance to, that's probably a good place to get more information about when the teacher wants people to come in and for what.
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#11 of 18 Old 09-02-2009, 03:27 PM
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Our school does that. It is the norm here. It is at a different time for each grade so parents with children in more than one grade can attend all of them. In addition to explaining the curriculum the kids will be learning and the materials they will cover, it is also the time to sign up for volunteering in the classroom, helping organize parties and for parent teacher conferences. It is a pretty important deal around here and very different from the back to school Open House/Ice Cream Social.

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#12 of 18 Old 09-02-2009, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by octobermom View Post
I'd love something like that. Our schools open house is totally diffrent its jsut a chance for parents to walk around the classrooms really no examples of how there days really are.

I agree. I'd love it. We have an Open House but it's similar to this description. I'm not aware of a curriculum night or anything like it.
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#13 of 18 Old 09-02-2009, 04:19 PM
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We just had one last night for first grade. The school had it for k-6th grade. I took my daughter.

Format - We all started in the gym where the prinicpal introduced the staff and went over school goals and standards. Like many schools in our state we are failing the NCLB plan so that was a big focus.

Then we went to the classrooms with our kids. I sat at my daughters desk. Teacher had a packet of info. We went over - Math Curriculum, math log, reading program - individual read, budddy read, small group reading, library day etc, etc. Writing curriculum, social studies, science lab, etc etc. I saw my daughters desk, saw her journals and logs. Learned we are a "Title 1 school" which means teacher has extra help for reading. Found out what her aid did. Heard about assessments and that sort of thing. It was good for me, but I work Full-time and DD goes to aftercare so I have very limited contact with the teacher and I'm generally very intersted in the curriculum. Pluss DD was totally excited for me to see her desk and her work. At our school it is expected that children will be there - even little sibs.

I think if you had regular contact with the teacher, either through pick-up/drop-off or volunteering in the classroom then it would be less important.

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#14 of 18 Old 09-02-2009, 04:39 PM
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Our school calls that open house. The teachers bascially just talked about all the stuff they'd be doing, what books they'd be using (this is a Pre-K program in a school that's Pre-K through 8th grade) and roughly what the day was like.

I felt it was a really good way to see what was going on in the school and for dh to meet the teachers (he doesn't drop her off or pick her up regularly.)

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#15 of 18 Old 09-02-2009, 05:30 PM
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We have an open house where you come with your kids, meet the teacher, drop off school supplies, fill out class forms etc..

Then we have curriculum night where you go - just parents and teachers - and you get a run down on what programs they use, what assessments they use, you can ask questions etc...
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#16 of 18 Old 09-03-2009, 12:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey, thanks!

We already did the "Open House" at both schools-before school started. This is more in-depth regarding *exactly* what our dc will do all year. Dd came home with a scavenger hunt-like agenda for me to follow-should be interesting. I have had a ton of contact with the grade school-just not dd's middle school, so I really see the value in going to meet her teachers, along with viewing the curriculum.

Thanks for sharing!

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#17 of 18 Old 09-03-2009, 11:57 AM
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Yes, we have one every year at the start of school. Ours is next Thursday night. It is just for parents and the teacher talks about what is going to happen that year and what the classroom rules are and you get handouts that go into more depth. They don't want the kids for it and they have a book fair that night so my mom takes my dd to that while I go to curriculum night. We have an Open House in the spring and that's the one the kids come to and they show off projects they made and everything.
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#18 of 18 Old 09-03-2009, 01:58 PM
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This is part of our BTSN, which isn't until school's been in session for a few weeks. Personally, I think it's vitally important for at least one parent to attend. You get a good feel for the teacher(s), what your child will be doing during the year and what approach will be followed, etc. And, perhaps most importantly, you become known to the teachers as a parent who values their child's education.

Sadly, although most parents attend in the early grades, many drop going once the kids are out of elementary. Attendance for MS and HS are lower with each passing grade - with the exception of Honors and then AP classes. Those are almost always practically full (especially AP).

If you absolutely can't make it, try contacting the teacher(s) to see if you could schedule a conference at a better time. The key is, I think, to make contact in some way.
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