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Connecting with Parents

When families choose to use out of home care options, the need for bridging the school to home connection is the key to success. Whether you are leaving a child in friends and family care or choosing a licensed childcare program, being involved in your child’s day while you are away ensures an easier transition for your little one and a worry free day for you.  “Ongoing research shows that family engagement in schools improves student achievement, reduces absenteeism, and restores parents’ confidence in their children’s education” according to publications the National Education Association.  With increasing numbers of families working outside the home, Early Childhood Programs set the stage for future parent involvement when young children are entrusted in their care.  Family fun nights, Parent Advisory Boards, and field trips are typical ways programs encourage parent participation.  However, in 2018 2.53 billion people are smartphone users and smart teachers use this to their advantage. 

For example, my son started in part time childcare at 5 months old.  Working in Early Childhood, I have a good friend and colleague who specializes in infant care that I’ve known for more than 10 years both personally and professionally.  The day I dropped my son off to her center was more emotional than I could have ever imagined.  I called every 90 minutes with a new excuse each time, just to hear that he was enjoying being held or loved watching the mobile infants move about the room.  (And I knew this person!)  Fast forward to January 2018 and my toddler is starting in a new early learning center with teachers that I only know from Open House and I’m wondering if they’re going to hate me for my million phone call check in’s.  Thanks to the app ClassDoJo, the first month has been a success for us all! Teachers post to the classroom wall so I can see group shots of what’s happening throughout the day.  Teachers can also post to my son’s personal wall so that only his Dad and I can access the photo (or video!)

 One morning, my son had a particularly difficult time separating from me. Within 20 minutes of dropping him off, this picture was posted with a caption.  I also had a message (yes, there is a messaging component!) to let me know he had calmed down for his phone call before I even left the parking lot. 

Luckily, the classroom my son is in not only has two certified Early Childhood teachers, but also many student teachers so there is no need to worry that this communication method takes away from the teachers time with students. No need for me to interrupt their day with phone calls when I can see for myself what’s happening each time a teacher posts.  
Other apps are available with similar functions such as HiMama, Remind, and Tadpoles.
 Knowing more about your child’s day with these apps helps me know how much fun he’s having while I’m away and also gives me ideas on activities to try at home!  

Carissa Orr
Author: Carissa Orr

Early Childhood Professional, “Music with Ms. Carissa,” Mama, and now blogger thanks to MDM! Carissa works as an Early Childhood Consultant for Michigan’s state-funded Preschool Program, the Great Start Readiness Program.  In her spare time, she entertains children and families with live music as part of her Music with Ms. Carissa.  Most importantly, she is “Jack’s Mom” and loves adventuring with her young toddler all around Metro Detroit!