“When dealing with children, there is greater need for observing than of probing.” ~ Dr. Montessori
12+ Parent-Teacher Conference Tips
- Show you know and care for their child by sharing a few stories about the child's work and interactions at school
- Start and end the meeting on a positive note with any negatives sandwiched in between
- Prepare the environment as you would for a child. Tidy the area, add fresh flowers, offer tea or water, and know where to guide the parent to show their child's work and progress around the classroom
- Remember the #1 thing you have in common: you love their child
- When a parent brings up a concern, repeat the parent's words back to the parent (perhaps rewording) so that you can be sure you're on the same page, so that they know you understand and that you heard his concern
- Plan to show a child's work
- Avoid bringing up major concerns for the first time. The concern should have been brought up long before the first conference. It should not be the first time a parent is hearing about the concern.
- Don't over prepare with a checklist, or follow a checklist at the conference
- Don't “Montessori name drop” with language the parent may not understand. The fact that her child has mastered the pink tower, enjoys pouring dry goods, or is normalized means less to a parent than hearing her child is developing concentration and fine motor skills.
- Be able to support whatever – positive or negative – you bring up in the conversation
- Treat parents as partners
- Actively listen. Don't do all the talking. Ask parents for their concerns. Consider opening the conversation with asking them how they feel their child is doing in the classroom.
- Choose 2 or 3 virtues for each child and find a story to tell specifically relating to the virtues. The Virtues Project is a great resource to brainstorm for this one.
- Relax and Breath
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