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The Role of Teachers and Schools in Communication

For parents to be comfortable interacting with schools, they must often bridge language and culture differences. Here are recommendations for getting involved that open the lines of communication.

Schools and teachers know that good communication with parents is an important part of their job. Teachers need to know about the children's families, language, and culture in order to help children learn. Parents benefit because they learn more about what goes on in school and can encourage learning at home. Most importantly, children benefit by improved communication because contact between home and school helps children learn and succeed.

To do their job better, teachers need to know about the child's life outside of school. Some teachers schedule conferences that fit in with parents' work hours. Offering child care or transportation when possible would also make it easier for parents to come to the school. Schools that greet visitors warmly or open a parent center make some parents feel more comfortable and welcome in the school.

Some teachers call parents at home. Some teachers also write notes to parents, or send home information about the child with other family members. Finally, some teachers and schools provide translators and celebrate the diverse cultural backgrounds of children and their families.

Teachers and schools can do many things to make communication with families easier. It's important to find out from parents the ways of communicating that work best for both of you.

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Endnotes

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Excerpted from: Kreider, H., Mayer, E., & Vaughan, P. (May, 1999). Helping Parents Communicate Better with Schools. Early Childhood Digest. National Institute on Early Childhood Development and Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education.

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