At Westmont we strive to keep ongoing and open dialogue between parents and teachers so parents can have up to date knowledge of their children’s school experiences. We believe that communication between parent and school is vital to a positive home/school relationship. After all, school is a home away from home for our students.
We also know that quite often the standard responses to “what did you do at school today?” include, “Nothing”, “I ate snack”, or “I played on the playground”. The former we know is not true and the latter very important to every child. We do see some parents every day and the teacher often has the opportunity to give a brief update on a child’s day or week. Other parents do not make it to the school on a regular basis and our weekly Montessori Compass comments and photos online provide a welcome glimpse into a child’s day or week. A simple login allows parents to see what activities their child engages in, and supporting photos help facilitate leading questions for them regarding what really occurs on a day-to-day basis.
Westmont offers formal parent teacher conferences three times a year and this week all teachers and parents are meeting to review each child’s year and subsequent development. Although we do not test, or give homework, we do assess children and measure their development on an ongoing basis. Because our Montessori philosophy is developmentally responsive to each individual student and provides resources and time for each student to learn at his or her own pace, teachers must know their students. Montessori teachers therefore are trained in, and adept at, observing students. Based on their observations, they plan for future activities to support each child’s individual skills and can address strengths and challenging areas.
The goal of this week’s meetings is to present the outcome of the year’s plans, observations, and assessments. Teachers and parents can then reflect on all areas of development relating to each child, including growth observed in independence, confidence, social, motor and cognitive skills.
Research has shown that parent involvement in a child’s education is an important factor for a child’s future school success. Shared feedback between teachers and parents will strengthen trust between home and school and enlighten parents as to what their children are really doing in school, which we know is a lot more than words here can express.
Colette B. Cross