Family Engagement In Uncertain Times

Jennifer Mosley

Dec. 24, 2020

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The summer is passing quickly, and the anxiety associated with going back to the classroom is at the forefront of teachers’ and parents’ minds. My daughter will start back to preschool next month. Over the last few months, she has missed her friends, her teachers, and the familiar routine of going to school. As a mom, I am anxious for her to return to those experiences, but I also want to wrap her in bubble wrap (with a mask, of course) covered in sanitizer to ensure she is safe.

Due to remaining uncertainties, my daughter’s school has cautioned us to prepare for both in-classroom and at-home learning scenarios. My mind pictures school Zoom calls in which my 3-year-old has disappeared because she is running around me as I attempt my own work Zoom calls. I envision tears from exhaustion, and I ponder whether anything we are doing is actually helping her progress toward her next developmental milestone. I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. I talk to teachers, administrators, and other parents every day in my role at Hatch Early Learning.

How can teachers help parents engage and feel comfortable with their role in their child’s learning? A few simple steps can reduce the stress for parents and teachers

  1. Establish the preferred communication method for parents, and use it! There are so many ways to stay in touch: text, email, Zoom, Google Classroom, etc. Find out which method is most convenient and comfortable for your parents, then set a schedule for communication. And remember to tell parents how they can best reach you for help.
  2. Educate parents on the resources they have access to and how those resources will help their child achieve learning milestones. Is there a minimum amount of time that should be spent? How should they monitor progress? How can they build on the experiences being provided by the school for further learning opportunities at home?
  3. Be consistent in your expectations for parent participation, and share your findings with them to ensure they are engaged. Consistency is key. Reinforce the importance of their engagement in at-home learning and how the information they are collecting is helping you understand their child’s kindergarten-readiness progress.
  4. Provide solutions that meet parents where they are. Implement tools that will allow for seamless (and unexpected) transitions from in-classroom to at-home learning. For example, Ignite by HatchTM is a research-backed, play-based connected learning experience that collects objective data on a child’s progress on an ongoing basis, no matter where the child is using the platform.

Parent participation has never been so critical! Because parents are juggling a lot at home, streamlined solutions like Ignite’s connected learning experience are even more valuable. Ignite allows for flexibility while providing continuous, actionable data for teachers. Hatch also provides Family Connections resources for parents, to engage with children at home and reinforce important skills.

To learn more about the Ignite by Hatch connected learning experience, visit Hatch Early Learning.

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