I recently switch my 4 year old from one preschool to the next. He loved his previous school and he really enjoys the new one even more than the previous one. He seems to be extremely comfortable. He usually takes a while to warm up to things but he quickly felt at home at this school; so its a big plus. The problem however is that this school does not encourage parent involvement. I drop my child off at the playground and pick him up in front of the school. The communication is quite sparce, I asked about knowing the schedule and was promised a written one. But to date this has not been produced; whenever I ask I am told that someone is looking it over.
The school works very closely with Early Intervention and my LO receives services from EI. But the lack of communication and encouraging parent involvement really bugs me. But as I said he is very happy at the school. Clearly I dont want to move him but then I worry about if the lack of communication etc. robs him of a better quality experience. Or is it just me and I need to just get over it?
Feedback appreciated. Thanks!
If you are otherwise happy with the school, I would simply be politely persistent about the communication issue. I would keep asking for the schedule until it is produced. Talk to some of the other parents. You may find some support for better communication from the school. Some ideas:
-One pre-school that I really liked sent home a folder of completed classwork (drawings, a worksheet or two, etc.) every Friday.
-Weekly newsletter - this is easy to send out by e-mail these days
-A daily agenda with notes from the teacher (and my notes back to her). The notes weren't written every day, just as needed.
-The preschool teachers met the students at the school gates (in good weather) and at the school door (in poor weather) and there was an opportunity to say hello, at least. It wasn't appropriate to have a full conference, but you could quickly update if the child had a bad night's sleep or Dad had just gone out of town on a business trip or other event was happening at home
If the school resists these kinds of casual, routine communication vehicles, I might ask for more than the usual once-per-term parent-teacher conference. Maybe seek out a telephone call, e-mail or face-to-face meeting once per month. Just beware that they may start to think of you (unfairly) as a helicopter parent.
If there is a parent-school committee, I would try to attend meetings and if possible, join the executive. You will get a lot more insight about what is happening at the school.
Thanks Mamas. I agree his being happy is a biggy. I decided to try to find other ways to be involved. What bothers me most is the lack of communication. I want to be able to extend his preschool learning at home since he is only there for such a short time. I am not sure that I agree that doing newsletters and having families involved takes away from the time teachers can spend with students. I see it as part of the package; it should be partnership especially since leaning continues outside of preschool.
I have been successful in asking questions and getting answers even though it does take a while so I will continue to do so just because I am seeing some positives.
Thanks again for the feedback.
Most kids in EI have some sort of service coordinator or case manager that oversees everything. Does this school have that? You might want to ask. Perhaps this could be a point person to make sure you are getting the info you need.
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I haven't delved that much into EI but I do know that it is part of IDEA, the federal regulation that governs special education services; perhaps you should ask for a meeting to discuss this. My ds has had an IEP since last year and included in his IEP is how I will be informed of his progress. I asked that a report be sent home at report card time and that I will normally pick him up from his teacher instead of going through the pick-up line; if IFSPs operate like IEPs then how you will be updated on his progress/communicate with his teacher should be covered in his IFSP.
Thank you everyone for your responses. Great idea to have my ESCE specialist as the point person, we have already discussed this. My child does have a plan, we actually met earlier this week and went over how best to communication. So I was able to get things cleared up. Thanks again.
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