Parent-Teacher Conferences

by Matt Bronsil, author of Before the Sandpaper Letters

The more parents and teachers understand each other, the easier it is to help the children. Nobody understands the specific child more than the parents, and teachers can provide a lot of experience and insight of the child that the parents may not have thought of or are aware of as well as to give the parents a better sense of what happens in the Montessori classroom. The goal of any parent-teacher conference should be to get to understand the child more so both parents and teachers develop strategies to better help the child, both in and out of school. Both parents and teachers are often faced with what to talk about and how to do the conferences. Hopefully, this guide will help point you in the right direction. As always, get in touch with me if you have anything to add to this. I would love to hear it.

Teachers and Parents: How to Prepare for Your Meeting

For the Teachers

To prepare for meetings, I have used the same form for years and it works perfectly for me. A lot of what is in this form is geared towards a foreign language Montessori 3-6-age classroom, but feel free to edit it and use it any way you think is helpful. Download the Montessori parent-teacher conference form.

It will also help to come up with notes and/or be aware of certain things:

For the Parent

As a parent, you probably have many questions about your child's education. You may want to know more about what Montessori is, what the child is learning, and how they interact socially with the other students. As you think of these things, it is a good idea to write them all down. If you're like me and don't always carry pen and a notebook everywhere, do what I do and put them in the notepad app on your phone as you think of them. Write them all down, but before you attend the meeting, go through them and see which ones are the most important and try to get those answered. The teacher will come prepared to talk about your child, but will make assumptions of things you want to hear. If you have some ideas of what you want to know, it makes the conference a lot easier. You can use the list ideas for the teacher to be aware of that I listed above to help come up with questions.

Arrive a few minutes before the conference. Whether you are the first person or the last person of the day, we need to start the meeting on time and finish on time. Aside from the meetings, we still need to get the classroom ready for the next day, prepare for upcoming meetings, and still do all the job duties needed of us, not to mention life outside of school (yes...we do manage to find some time to have friends. haha). Showing up late for the meeting makes the teacher rush through it and going over time causes problems for the next parent or the preparation that we have as well.

During the meeting, take notes if it helps you remember what was discussed.

Finally, if possible, ask to see some of the work your child is doing in the classroom. Take a look at the materials and learn how the child uses them. If you're unfamiliar with Montessori, this may be the perfect time to learn more about it and how Montessori works.

Have your own questions or tips about Montessori conferences? Feel free to add a comment below.

Matt Bronsil is the author of these posts. He can be contacted by visiting the contact page

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