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Communicating with Parents & Week in Review

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Dear Debi,
What are some ways I can communicate with the parents of the children I care for?
Debi's Tips
Debi Gutierrez
Debi Gutierrez
Host
  • Hang a poster of childrenís responses
  • Keep notes in a spiral notebook
  • Make a chart of an infantís activities
  • Maintain a portfolio of childís artwork
  • Create a website
WEEK IN REVIEW
And donít forget about the great things that we learned this week:
Expert Advice
Alec Colchico
Alec Colchico
Pre-school teacher and mother of two
To make sure that our kids are getting the best care possible and to share kids progress, itís important to maintain great parent-child care provider communication.

One of the most simple ways to keep that communication going is by hanging a poster of childrenís responses during your discussion time. Ask the kids a question during circle time. The question of the day may be, ďWhat is your favorite bug?Ē Go around and have each child state what their favorite bug is and write it down on the butcher paper next to their names.

Each day you can hang this paper up on the wall so that parents can come and see what their kids said during circle time. This is really great because many parents say they donít know what their kids do, or that their kids are so quiet. This can be a good way for parents to see what their kids are talking about during the day.

Another really simple thing to do is write down notes or observations about a child in a spiral notebook. Devote a separate journal for each child. This is a great way to give notes to parents and for parents to leave notes for child care providers when they donít have time to talk to each other. The notebook can be left on the counter or by the door and when parents drop off their kids, they can write a note that says for instance, ďJohnny had a restless night and was a little grumpy this morning and didnít eat breakfast yet.Ē At the end of the day, when the parent picks up their child, they can get notes from the child care provider to see how their child did, if they had a good or bad day, how they slept, etc. Itís an easy way to communicate specifics with parents when there is little time to talk in person.

For kids under 3 years old, you can use a simple one page sheet which charts of the childís activity during the day. The chart includes spaces for their names, parentís notes, meals, bathroom habits, bottles and comments. For very young children, this is a useful way to document how kids are doing. Itís very observational and has spaces for parentsí notes and child care provider notes but is also formatted so that parents can see exactly how their kids are eating and if they are going to the bathroom normally.

Another innovative way to keep open the lines of communication with a parent is by maintaining a portfolio of artwork that each child has created. You can put it together with construction paper and yarn and have it out for the parents to see what their kids have created.

If you are really computer savvy, you can also set up a website on the internet. You can take digital photos and post those along with schedules and different projects that youíll be doing. Itís a hi-tech way of doing all of the things weíve talked about. Remember, even if you canít establish your own website, if you have access to a computer, you can set up a free email account so you can send and receive email messages from parents.

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Topic: Child Care Management
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Resources
California Safe from the Start
California Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Divison
LAUSD/Early Childhood Educational Division
Children's Defense Fund
Your Local R&Rs
Head Start
 
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