Here it is part 2 of my reflections on the ministry document “Better Beginnings, Better Futures”.
A big part of this document discusses the importance of being willing to work with partners to ensure the success of the students in your preKindergarten program. Some of the many partners suggested are parents,wider family members, support staff, district staff, community groups, and community support agencies. It really does take a village to raise a child and to provide a quality preKindergarten program.
Many times teachers tend to operate in isolation and this is due in part to the nature of the job. However, it’s important to never think of ourselves as alone in the work we do. We need to invite families into our classrooms, and provide them with resources to support learning in their homes. Our students need us to be the bridge between their school and home lives. This is a powerful connection that we can make that will greatly benefit our students and their achievement. Parents and family supports can also be amazing way to lower student/adult ratios to provide more small group learning experiences. A few parent volunteers can be worth their weight in gold and should be treated well. I noticed in my internship that many families want to be involved and are just wanting to know how. Clear communication can greatly enhance your relationship with parents and can be as simple as greeting them when they bring their children to school or as formal as newsletters. I plan on using some of both in my classroom because I want parents to feel like they are an important part of the classroom.
Another important partnership we can make is to be willing to make use of our support staff and professionals that operate within our school and school division. During my internship we had students who had needs that went far beyond what I or my co-op felt able to confidently meet. The student support teams were invaluable to helping us to devise plans and ideas to meet these students needs. Without these supports we truly would have been alone and there is only so much a teacher can do on their own.
The wider community supports is an area that I think a lot of teachers forget about, however, there are many professionals and organizations that will partner with teachers. In some cases these partnerships can be just a simple visit to the classroom such as inviting the health nurse in to share about germ prevention or an elder to share traditional teachings. In some cases you might need help to provide nutritional food for snacks so your local grocer or other businesses can help fund or supply food.
There are many partners in our classrooms and the main thing we need to remember as teachers is to keep inviting and searching out partners so we can better meet our students needs.