Communication. Communication. Communication.

The start of the new school year is upon us. There is so much to think about – do the school shoes still fit? Where did I put that stationery list? Who is going to teach my child this year? Will they understand my child’s needs?

The new school year can bring with it a mixed bag of emotions for parents and children alike which are often influenced by the experiences of the previous year. So how can we best prepare for the start of a new school year and give our children every opportunity to succeed? In 3 simple words – communication, communication, communication!

It’s easy to write that but not always as easy to put it into practice. Here are some suggestions to support positive communication with your child’s school.

Communication – who can you talk to?

It can be helpful to establish one main contact at your child’s school. This could be the class teacher; head of year; school counsellor.  If you need to communicate to more than one person your main contact person can help to set this up for you.

Consider connecting and contributing to parent leadership opportunities. This could be participating in P&C meetings but may also involve classroom and playground interactions, information evenings or social events; contributing to curriculum planning or policy development.

Communication – when and where and how?

As suggested in an earlier blog Successful parent-teacher-school encounters may include the playground  or classroom approach; the walk-in; the telephone call; an appointment with teacher or principal; mediation between the affected parties. Do parent portals and social media feature in your communication toolkit?

Your school will have a  communication policy outlining procedures for communicating with the school. You can find this on your school’s website or the website of the education authority. Here is an example of the  NSW government schools` School Community Charter

Don't forget communication is two-way. You can also  let your school know what works well for you. Have you ever thought about inviting your child’s teacher to your home? The start of a new school year is the ideal opportunity to arrange a home visit and get to know each other.

Communication – what can you ask for?

When communicating with your school, you may want to ask for information, documentation or action that relates to the education, health and/or well-being of your child. This may include:

  • Learning plan, behaviour support plan

  • Teaching and learning program

  • Homework and assessment requirements

  • Class teacher

  • Classroom equipment

  • Data collected by the school relating to your child’s academic progress, behaviour, health.

When asking for information it can be helpful to be clear about your own expectations. If you ask to see the teacher’s program let the teacher know it’s because you want to understand how to better support your child at home. If you want to look at data relating to behaviour let the teacher know that you don't think the supports are working for your child and you`d like to discuss a new approach.

A new school year is the perfect time to get communicating. Don`t wait for the parent-teacher evening. If you have helpful information to share or any concerns relating to your child then we encourage you to communicate, communicate, communicate!

We wish all of you a successful start to this new school year and hope you will join us for our #APVChat on Monday 4 February from 12-1pm AEDT to share your communication experiences.

Sarah Humphreys

Sarah Humphreys