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Tips for Holding a Successful Preschool Parent Teacher Conference

If the thought of holding a Preschool Parent Teacher Conference isn’t already making you nervous, it should be! It can be nerve-wracking to think of sitting down with a parent you barely know to try to share their child’s progress over the first few months of school.  Oftentimes you feel that you’re just starting to get to know the preschooler, so how can you feel confident that you’ll be able to have a great conference with their parents if you’re stumped at what to say?

Thankfully, our preschool teachers have been holding conferences for years, and have quite a few tips for you preschool teachers out there!

The fall conference shouldn’t be heavily weighted on teacher discussion, or child progress for that matter.  With them just beginning school, you’re really not charting a lot of progress, as you’ve just assessed them to see where they’re at. This conference should be heavily weighted on parent and teacher discussion.

BEFORE THE CONFERENCE

Don’t try to teach on the day you do conferences.  By the time you finish teaching, you’ll be pretty burned out anyways.  Instead, cancel class that one day, schedule all the conferences at 15-minute intervals, and then let your parents know which time they’re coming in.  If you have multiple children in a class or different classes, be sure to coordinate schedules with the other teachers as well if needed.

My favorite sign-up program to allow parents the ability to sign up for a convenient time for them is Sign Up Genius.

QUESTIONS TO DISCUSS

I always like to send home a note with parents that informs them what to expect during the conference, and how to prepare for it.  Basically, it asks them to think of the answers to these 3 questions below so we can work together to help their child have a great preschool year.

  1. What are some of your child’s strengths?
    This opens up the dialogue on a positive note and allows the parents to take the lead.  After all, which parent doesn’t love talking about their own kid!?!  You might discover some new strengths you haven’t observed during class.
  2. What are your goals for your child this year?
    This is an excellent time to find out what the parents expect from you as a teacher.  Do they want their child to read?  Do they expect their child to tie their own shoes?  Whenever a goal comes up that you’re not exactly comfortable with doing in preschool (i.e. heavily teaching reading) then use time as an opportunity to educate parents with what goals are appropriate for their child’s development at that time.  You can have parent education handouts on various topics ready for any parent who wants them.
  3. What would you like us to work on at preschool?
    This reminds parents that teachers and parents work as a team, and that you’re eager for their input.  It also goes vice-versa where if you have anything you’d like the child to work on at home, this would also be an excellent time to say that.

Then, once you’re holding your Preschool Parent Teacher Conference, here’s another great tip: place your chair facing the door or clock so you can keep an eye on the time, as well as welcome any parents coming in for the next meeting.  Be sure to ask all your parents to be on time, and that you only have 15 minutes with them, and then your transitions should flow really well.  Once a new parent comes into the room, the existing parent generally feels like their time is done so they head out.  Of course, if you need to continue a conversation, be sure to let them know they can continue it via email or phone later on.

YOUR TURN!

What are your tips for successful Parent Teacher Conferences in preschool?  Do you like to show work samples?  I’d love to hear your ideas! 

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About the Author

Joy Anderson

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Preschool expert Joy Anderson is the creator of Preschool In A Box, the complete business kit to help women start preschools in their homes. She is the founder of the home preschool model and has helped thousands of women create a supplemental or full-time income by simply teaching preschool classes to 3- to 5-year-olds for a few hours each day. She still runs her own wildly successful preschool and can often be found running after her five children and husband in Boise, Idaho.

Comments 10

  1. Beatrice

    Hi Joy, thanks for your article. I am so grateful. School is doing well just that we are planning to relocate due to accommodation facilities. Will inform you when I am through. Have a blessed day

    Beatrice

  2. Caroline Rauma

    Joy,

    It’s always so nice to know that if I have any questions I can come running to you! I have actually already spoken to my family and friends about this opportunity and several of my family members are interested. I think that once they come in and see me and the kiddos in action they will jump on the bandwagon. 🙂

    I hope all is well with you and have fun with your conferences!

    Caroline

  3. Crystal

    Lady I thought about you last week and needed to vent:). I’m feeling the craziness of the time changing, all the candy wired up kids and adjusting to being the only school counselor for close to 1000 students. Our other counselor went on maternity leave in addition to putting in her two-week notice to move out of the city with her husband for his new job. I’m swamped and for a few days was beginning to take things personal that was probably the other person doing their job.

    Enough work, this thing called life is going on also, I’m in the process of purchasing my first home. I’m so excited, nervous and a bit anxious. I try to not worry and just pray and know what God have for me is for me but I’m human lol. Overall I think I’m holding up well, just had 4 days off and was much needed.

    I’ll look at those tips:) I’m holding 10-15 conferences/504 meetings weekly, I’m sure there is something to help.

    Thanks, Crystal

  4. April Bateman

    Hi, Joy!

    I am doing ok. I just had a baby myself about 8 weeks ago. His name is Benjamin, and he is adorable! I actually don’t have any students right now and I have been thinking that maybe I should wait until all my kids are in school before trying to start up my preschool because I haven’t had much success in getting students and I want to devote my time to my baby and my younger children right now. On the other hand, we really need more income and my preschool would provide that if I could just get some students. It’s a hard decision that I have to make and I’m really not sure what the right choice is. But I am enjoying my baby right now and just doing my best from day to day.

    Thank you for your e-mails. I really appreciate your support.

    April Bateman

  5. Ogunbosi Omolara

    Hi Joy,

    My Preschool will be opening in January 2013.

    Just completed painting the centre with warm colours.

    Looks so beautiful and creative.

    Can’t wait to start.

    Thanks a lot for all your support.

    Lara.

    Nigeria.

  6. Alicia Johnston

    Hi Joy,
    I very much like your ideals that you shared with us.
    Our parent teacher conferences are not so bad. We set a time they can be there and if they can not on that day we work with them on a time after school. So it does not take them away from work.
    We get to meet our parents on home visits before they even start our Head Start Center. It is great for we get to ask the parents the question you talked about in person. The parent get’s to talk to us and let us know something about there lives and what they want to see ther child to learn. Meet the child and see there surrounding that they are in, plus see for our self what they like, there room and there pet(s). So at parent teacher conference we talk about how together we can work on things they need to get stronger in the area’s we find weak still. I love my job, for getting to know my parents is a step ahead on teaching there child.

  7. Lenore Anaele

    Hi Joy, I’m trying to prepare myself for teacher parent conference inside my Day Care/Preschool. One day I hope and pray that God will help me to convert my daycare into a preschool. May be when all or most of my children begin school as well, because I have three boys and only one of them is in Kindergarten, and the other two are still home at the daycare with me. I praise God for this! Thank You for all your tips, support, and helpful advice, and information on how to start a successful preschool.

  8. Maria

    Hi Joy,
    I enjoyed ur teacher parent conference.But yet to start. I’ve got just one pupil. My preschool is just 3months. Can’t wait to implement this.
    Thanks once more.

  9. Meagan moore

    Hi joy,
    I just came across this thread and at the chance some others will too…even though it was a year ago I’d like to share my conference tips too!
    I like to leave a table and chairs with class made books and pictures of the class, a few picture books we have read in class recently and some water-juice boxes and a small grab and take snack for the parents and their children to munch and browse while they are waiting for their conference. I did this even while teaching kinder in public schools with 26 families to see in just half a day and it was always appreciated by the families! It is also nice if you get behind or for the families that may be nervous as it could be their first child and first teacher conference…just seems to start things off positive before they even enter the room! Btw…love your question form handouts before the conference this is def. helpful to both parties 🙂

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