Positive and trusting relationships based on mutual respect with students, parents, staff and community formed the basis for my practicum classrooms, fostering belonging. With these, positive relationships at the centre of my pedagogy, I have been able to nurture the development of all students within my care.
I feel that I have met the criteria for standard 7.3 Engage with the parents/carers by doing the following:
- When starting at a new practicum school, I introduced myself to parents and care-givers with a letter. I shared a little about myself, assisting in the building of trusting relationships. I invited parents and care-givers to come in to the class and chat with me about their child at any time which, as a result occurred quite often.
Above is a link to the letter I sent home with students when I began at a school.
- In 2012 at my practicum school, I worked collaboratively with parents and volunteers as part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program. I built trusting relationships with all involved, assisting in the maintenance of a learning community that fostered a strong sense of belonging.
“One of the off-shoots of the Kitchen Garden Program in all of the participating schools has been the sense of community that builds when parents, students, teachers and friends of the school have a common project to work on. This drawing together of people has positive repercussions both for the wider life of the school and the community the school operates in. We have witnessed that community engagement is an essential ingredient of a successful Kitchen Garden Program.”
(Quote sourced from the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program website – http://www.kitchengardenfoundation.org.au/about-the-program )
Excerpts From Professional Experience Reports 2012/2013:
Parent/Caregiver and Community Partnerships
“Heidi effectively communicated with all staff (relief teacher, school service officers, admin staff, specialist staff and leadership). To parents and caregivers, she showed empathy, interest, self-control, respect and confidentiality. She was involved in the kitchen garden program, attended a parent meeting, provided each family with a letter of introduction about herself and generally made herself available for informal chats with parents.” Year three mentor teacher, 2012
“Heidi has communicated with parents through notes home as well as speaking with them in an informal way in the mornings and afternoons. As a parent herself she has a good understanding of how important keeping these avenues and channels open is in making sure the child and parent can express concerns and celebrate successes.” Foundation mentor teacher, 2013
Where to Next?
Trusting relationships with parents and caregivers are key to success in student learning. In order to continue to develop my skills in maintaining relationships that are open and trusting and fosters collaboration, I will actively seek out strategies to support me to do so.