As your child’s first teacher, you can promote early learning in many ways, such as reading bedtime stories and even pointing out the meaning of traffic signs.

Participating in your child’s preschool experience is also essential. Research published in 2017 found that parent-teacher partnerships promote academic success and social-emotional development.

At Little Sunshine’s Playhouse & Preschool®, biannual parent-teacher conferences are an important part of our curriculum and provide an opportunity to set and work toward mutual goals for each individual child.

How can you make the most of your next parent-teacher conference? Here’s our list of 10 things to do and questions to ask.

#1: Talk to Your Child First

Ask your child some questions before going to the conference! There are lots of things you can glean from letting your child talk about preschool in his or her own words:

  • Do you like preschool?
  • What do you not like?
  • What is your teacher like?
  • Who do you like to play with?
  • Which activities do you like best?

Your child’s answers may indicate important issues to bring up when you meet with the teacher.

#2: Listen to the Teacher

When you arrive for the conference, the teacher will want to share important information about your child’s development, progress and areas of need.

Let the teacher go through the report before asking any questions you’ve prepared. You may also think of new questions or comments if you hear anything unexpected.

Don’t be alarmed if the teacher brings up areas of concern, such as behavioral issues or struggling to learn math. This is not a judgment on your parenting skills! Instead, it’s an opportunity for you and the teacher to work together to help your child’s progress.

#3: Ask General Questions

When it’s your turn to ask questions, start by getting an overall sense of what preschool is like for your child.

  • What is my child like in class?
  • Is my child talkative or quiet?
  • Does my child have a favorite activity?
  • Are there activities he/she doesn’t care for?

#4: Ask About Strengths and Weaknesses

Because preschool exposes your child to a wide variety of activities, it may uncover special talents or problems that you don’t see at home.

  • Ask what activities your child excels at.
  • Ask about individual subjects. For example, some kids pick up math quickly, while others catch on more slowly.
  • For areas of weakness, how is the teacher adapting the lessons to help your child learn more easily?

#5: Ask About Social/Emotional Development

A quality preschool curriculum is about much more than learning letters and numbers. It’s also an important place for developing social skills.

  • Is your child’s social and emotional development typical for his or her age?
  • Does your child understand how to share and take turns?
  • What about a sense of empathy and concern for other people?

You’ll also want to gather more specific information on interactions with teachers and classmates.

#6: Ask How Your Child Gets Along with Adults

Preschool gives your child the opportunity for quality time with non-parental adults. Some kids will adapt to this easily, while others may take more time.

  • Does your child know how to ask for something politely?
  • How do staff members respond when your child has a problem?
  • What about listening and following instructions? How often does the teacher have to repeat directions to your child?

#7: Ask How Your Child Gets Along with Peers

The way your child interacts with peers at school gives you important insights into his/her personality.

  • Is your child more inclined to play with other kids or alone?
  • What happens during group activities? Does your child have a lot to say, or do other kids do most of the talking?
  • Does your child have a best friend?
  • Are there any kids your child doesn’t get along with?

#8: Ask Whether Your Child Has any Behavior Issues

If the teacher mentions any behavioral issues, ask for details. Are there some situations that tend to upset your child and trigger misbehavior more than others?

  • Has another child hit or bitten your child?
  • Has your child behaved aggressively toward any classmates?
  • If any aggressive behaviors have occured, how did the teacher respond?
  • Did the aggressive behavior stop after intervention, or has it persisted?

#9: Provide the Teacher with Information

Tell the teacher about personality traits or family circumstances that may affect your child at school. This will help to customize your child’s learning experience and resolve any problems your child has at school.

  • Are there any changes at home, such as the birth of a new sibling, divorce or death of a beloved grandparent? Events like these may trigger misbehavior.
  • If your child is somewhat shy, the teacher may not always know if there is a problem and may need to be more proactive in asking your child how things are going.

#10: Ask How You Can Help

Remember, the teacher is your ally in your child’s development, and will be happy to offer helpful things you can do at home.

  • How does your child’s development compare with what is considered typical?
  • What are some activities that would support learning at home? Ask the teacher for good stories to read, or games that might help your child pick up math a little more easily.
  • How can you promote good behavior and social skills?
  • If there are persistent developmental or behavioral issues that don’t seem to be getting better, consider addressing these with a pediatrician or child psychologist.

Our biannual parent-teacher conferences are one of many ways in which Little Sunshine’s Playhouse® encourages parental involvement and maintains open communication with you about your child’s progress.

For more details, contact a location close to you today!

Read our previous blogs to learn more about how Little Sunshine’s Playhouse ® supports your child’s development:

When Is the Best Time to Transition to the Next Preschool Classroom?  

What Makes a Great Preschool Teacher?   

Setting, Meeting and Exceeding Parents’ Expectations