Parent – Teacher Conferences
Tomorrow and Monday are special days at Children’s Garden, filled with a sense of excitement that comes with close communication and simply a break in the normal schedule. Teachers dress up a bit more than usual, and the classrooms stay as neat as they are first thing in the morning all day long!
Instead of a steady stream of small people with big energy coming through the front door, there is an ebb and flow of grown-ups, often cluching a Starbucks cup, checking the schedule, worried about running late or arriving way too early.
What we aim to do during a parent-teacher conference, as well as during those short moments at the gate, or during any phone conversations we might have with you, is share what we observe about your child. We hope you share with us what you observe as well. Our hope, and indeed our past experiences with all of you, is that the conferences will become dialogues – back and forth exchanges about a child who is special to all.
Writing the spring conference reports is a process of pulling together information from the entire year with your child. This year we have used a software program called Montessori Workspace in both the preschool classrooms to keep records of children’s work. Both preschool classrooms have iPads that are used to access Montessori Workspace. The toddler teachers also keep extensive records, but Montessori Workspace is not as conducive to toddler recordkeeping so they still use paper and pencil for record-keeping, as do all the teachers on many occasions. Because there are many teachers working with each child, conference preparation also involves hours of conversations and comparing notes.
We also worked with Shari Caudron, who is a writing instructor for Lighthouse Writers Workshop and DU, to help us finetune writing skills. Just like other learning processes, incorporating different writing approaches is not easy, and you may or may not notice any changes in what teachers have written about your child. But to all of us, the shift to using Montessori Workspace for record-keeping, and our time spent with a professional writer, gave this year’s conference preparation a new feel.
Because of the changes we have made, I am interested in how the conferences meet your needs. I have already told the teachers that I want to sit in on some conferences this year, so if I ask if I can sit in on your conference, please don’t see me as “the principal” who is there to check up on things, but as one more friend at Children’s Garden who is part of the team. Sometimes children ask me if I am “the principal”, and I always wonder what they think “the principal” does. Angelina is also going to be available to you in the art studio for some of the time. We look forward to meeting with you!