Attending the California Association for the Education of Young Children (CAAEYC) annual conference was a great experience. The opportunity to engage in 1:1 conversations, learn about new industry resources, and hear the latest findings of researchers was invaluable.
The Keynote by Steve Gross reminded us of the importance of our work, the impact it has on children over the rest of their lives, and how playing is often the best kind of learning. The workshop presented by Annemarie Kurpins and Joanne Devine, “Parent Communication and Building Relationships” was also of particular interest. Better understanding the challenges early childhood educators face when trying to communicate with parents presents an opportunity to find effective solutions that benefit educators and the families and children with whom they work.
We noticed the consistency of a few themes and challenges for early childhood educators.
Most educators are not surprised by research that supports the concept that one of the best predictors of student success is the extent to which parents are engaged in their children’s school lives. When parents stay informed about what their child is learning, extend the learning at home, meet their children’s friends, connect with staff, and volunteer to help out, they are having a positive impact on the learning development and health of their children.
Parent engagement, however, is a shared responsibility for both parents and school staff. It is by working together that they are able to have this impact on the children. The challenge: In a world where there seems to be more to do and less time, how can teachers and parents consistently and successfully partner together?
With the sophistication and accessibility of smartphones, the bulk of preschool communication is being viewed on these devices. The most common communication tool used is email. The emails include reminders of events, volunteer requests, curriculum updates, and details of what’s happening in class. Preschool communications also include phone calls, emails and texts with topics ranging from an early pickup to a behavior challenge that needs to be addressed.
As excited as parents are to learn about what their preschoolers have been doing, they also can get bogged down with reminders, updates and requests. Teachers get overwhelmed as well. Keeping track of all the emails, remembering to respond, and organizing the information is a lot of work for families and teachers alike. Not to mention, parents and teachers are doing all of this while trying to keep the kids at the center of their attention. The challenge: Is there a way to organize communications so that less time is spent on the logistics and more time is spent focused on the children?
Preschool educators are committed to giving their students the best early childhood education they can. This means that they are not only supporting the children they are teaching, but also the families of those children. The majority of parents need and want help, particularly when navigating the developmental stages of preschoolers. Who better to offer this than preschools?
Family support can include opportunities to meet with teachers, parenting workshops, community building events, and more. The challenge: Certain types of parent engagement, including workshops and community building events, are often outside of the normal day-to-day of a preschool. What is the best way to highlight these different types of family support?
Let’s Talk about Solutions
After the conference, the Moment team reflected on the three challenges outlined above and explored how Moment’s technology could be an effective solution for early educators.
Challenge 1 – In a world where there seems to be more to do and less time, how can teachers and parents consistently and successfully partner together?
Early educators and parents have a common goal – to see the children thrive in their early childhood education and reach important milestones. When teachers provide quality communication, including engaging updates, interesting and relevant resources, and tips for parents to prompt their children, the partnership begins.
Moment’s platform streamlines the day-to-day logistics, and focuses on making it easy for parents and teachers to have meaningful and consistent dialogue focused on the children. Here’s how:
- One Place – There’s no longer a need to search inboxes, manage multiple calendars, or find email addresses. Moment brings a preschool’s communication to one place for teachers and parents. Moment even brings applications, class management and payments to the same platform.
- Relevancy – When parents see a notification from Moment they know that the information being shared is directly related to their child. There’s no better way to get parents attention than to let them know it’s about their kids.
- Lead by Example – When preschools share the magic of what’s happening with the children, parents learn. With this knowledge, parents are better positioned to engage with their children, the teachers, and the entire community.
Challenge 2 – Is there a way to organize communications so that less time is spent on the logistics and more time is spent focused on the children?
Yes, absolutely. When you give parents and teachers one place to go to that captures all the historical communications, has a class calendar, and encourages messaging throughout the community, time spent on the day-to-day logistics is reduced.
Moment is not a social media platform. It is a private, secure place to share updates and provide a resource to families and staff. It gives parents and teachers one place to go, with the option of downloading the iOS/Android app.
The idea of Moment was inspired by families who use technology regularly to stay connected with extended family. Not many of us spend 20 minutes crafting a letter to grandparents. Yet, many of us take a few minutes to share a photo or video, or write a short snippet to share with extended family. It’s natural, it’s lightweight, and it brings families together. Our hope – that short, simple, yet impactful, communication brings our classes together as well.
Challenge 3 – Certain types of family engagement, including workshops and community building events, are often outside of the normal day-to-day of a preschool. What is the best way to highlight these different types of family support?
There are some very impactful ways a preschool can offer families support.
- Community – When parents feel like they belong, they are more likely to ask for help or inquire about resources.
- Relationships – Set up events for families, create support groups, or connect new families with veterans who know the ropes. It’s a great way to get questions answered and strengthen relationships.
- Accessibility – For staff and parents, make it easy to reach out when it’s convenient for them. Give them ample resources to explore when they have the time.
Community, relationships, accessibility. These are the foundations of Moment’s platform.
Use posts on Moment to establish the culture of your preschool, encourage community, and connect families through shared experiences.
Use private messaging on Moment, to connect families and encourage dialogue. 1:1 communication for parents of young children is so important. Moment offers a safe, private and secure platform for parents to connect, ask questions and share ideas about parenting.
Provide one place to access information and reach out. Moment makes it easy for parents to find preschool information and engage in a way that’s most convenient for them. This can be on smartphones, tablets, mobile friendly web, or desktop. Regardless of the devices used, parents and teachers find what they need.
What excites Moment so much about the themes we discovered at CAAEYC (parent engagement, effective communication and family support) is that it centers around communication. This is what Moment is passionate about.
Moment’s parent communication platform is designed to increase parent engagement and build community, so the partnership between teachers and parents is effective.
Learn how Moment can impact your preschool at www.moment.com/preschools