Practice Depot

Step 4: Tap into what works (text-based graphic)

Good practices come in a variety of formats and can be adapted to the different needs of the families that you serve and the settings in which you work.

In the comments, tell us following:

  • What successful practices have you used or have you heard about to engage families in the transition to school?
  • What practices have you thought about trying?
  • What practices would work best with the families that you serve?
  • How can you adapt the practices that other board users have shared in the comments to suit the needs of the families that you serve?
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12 Responses to Practice Depot

  1. MaestraQ says:

    In order to inform parents about transitioning into Kindergarten, we have informal sessions at the beginning of school. After the 1st month of school, there is a curriculum night that goes over the expectations and goals of Kindergarten. I make it known to parents that my door is always open if questions/concerns arise~

  2. What successful practices have you used or have you heard about to engage families in the transition to school?
    My research was in this area. Three F’s – food, family and fun.
    Share Food, get people to bring it if necessary – this takes the stress out of any meeting
    Invite all the family – not just parents. Have babysitting services and talky o siblings, aunts etc.
    Make it fun – no one want to go to meetings that are dull and boring – have a quiz, prizes, games to play, music – dancing.

    What practices have you thought about trying?
    All of the above – THEY WORK!

    What practices would work best with the families that you serve?
    Multicultural society, often low social-economic status. We used ethnic food nights – everyone brought a food from their country to share – celebrations – magical Aboriginal evenings. Costume events – all fun, all with food.

    How can you adapt the practices that other board users have shared in the comments to suit the needs of the families that you serve?
    Sorry – it took me along time to work out what was needed – time to get away from ‘Teacher knows best’ approaches to transition. Mom’s know their kids better than any teacher and can tell teachers what they need to hear,

    • I’ve seen others have great successes with multicultural events too. My children’s school often has potlucks that inadvertantly turn into multicultural nights. These always seem to help parents to feel comfortable sharing something of themselves….starting with the kinds of food they eat. There is probably an underlying principle here, to listen to who the parents are, so they feel welcome and liked.

  3. Rebecca Grube says:

    As my main focus is to bring our early childhood (EC) program together with our school-aged programs that serve children reading below grade level in after school programs, we are not as restricted with our time as public educators typically experience.

    In just brainstorming, I think that our EC program coordinators should regularly visit with our afterschool (AS) site coordinators in order to discuss needs at the various levels and share what works and what needs to be revisited. Our EC program coordinators, who regularly visit homes of the families they serve, could take the AS site coordinators on home visits to meet the families that most likely will continue needing extra support through the AS program in kindergarten (and beyond). The AS site coordinator could work with the parent to set up a time when they could meet at the school so that the parent has a connection before their child enters the school. It also provides an opportunity for the parents to understand what the AS program can do for the child and what the requirements of the program are.

    The parents of these students who were in the EC program and then in the AS program as kindergarteners could serve on a panel that could speak to the families of newly transitioning kindergarteners with similar needs, buildling community and family connections in the school.

    • Rebecca Grube says:

      Additionally, I like “the 3 F’s” that Patricia Porter referred to earlier. Food is always a good incentive, especially since we work in low-income areas; Fun is a must; and we always use the term Family when referring to a child’s parents, because with whomever the child lives is his/her family.

    • I love the home visiting approach! I had great success with this as a Head Start teacher. I have heard others mention, however, that families from Asian countries may be less comfortable having a home visitor. Has anyone else noticed this?

      • ljgreen says:

        I’ve done home visits with Hmong families before as part of the transition process and never noticed that it was any different than doing the visits with my other families. Although, I was lucky enough to always be able to bring a translator with me. I think home visits are a great way to start building relationships with families for the start of every school year, but can be incredibly useful during the kindergarten transition.

  4. I love the idea of having a Kindergarten Expectation meeting in the beginning of the year. This I belelive will assist families in setting realistic goals for their child through out the year. We do the three ” F’s” as mentioned, we also bring in the Principals and Kindergarten teachers, have field trips to the elementary schools and provide the families choice school with a Kindergarten Transition Packet that includes 1-2 years of sample work, skills and development for the child. Kindergarten teachers are able to review and have a better idea where children are prior to entering public schools. My hope is that we arrive quickly to the point where families will be accepted as the primary educator of thier child, be included in all conversations and decisions that affect their child’s education and become an active member of their child’s school.

  5. There are so many great ideas here! I am curious to see what kind of goals everyone will set. Take your favorite bits and pieces from this section and go to Step 5 to set a goal. Research suggests that people are more likely to take on a new behavior if they set a concrete, measureable goal. Go to Step 5 and we will help you transform your ideas into goals!

  6. ljgreen says:

    Ideally, the transition process starts early, but something that I’ve struggled with as a Kindergarten teacher and would love to hear the ideas of others is what to do about students who start the school year late, and maybe miss some of the events we do at the beginning of the year or don’t do some of the transition activities planned by the district. If you do home visits, that’s a great way to connect, but if you don’t, how do you equally ensure that the child is prepared for school and the family is informed and engaged? Has anyone tried to have a second kindergarten expectation meeting, maybe a month or so after the school year has started? Maybe we could have the second meeting somewhere off-campus. That way families who can’t make it to the first meeting still have an opportunity to learn about kindergarten. Any other ideas for how to engage families who start late?

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