In a past life, my days revolved around fingerpaint, giggles, scraped knees and relaying a ton of information to parents that were coming off of their own long, and often stressful work days. How can you effectively relay information to anywhere from 10 – 20 sets of families in a day quickly without losing your mind and taking up your entire afternoon writing blurbs?
In my classroom, 1-3 pm was the time when I would sit, reflect on our morning, and jot down notes– naptime. I fell into the trap of writing 10-20 individual written reports, jotting down their eating and restroom habits, and a small anecdote about their day. If I’m being honest, they were usually BS because remembering something awesome and specific each child did in a day was blurred by all of the other normal classroom chatter.
I was cheating them out of the good stuff because I got consumed by the busy work. It wasn’t until I started my Bachelor’s degree that I realized I could be a more effective writer and communicator to my families, and I implemented a few new strategies that got me more than a couple of excellent parent reviews.
I always enjoyed writing my weekly newsletters, but I quickly discovered that only about 25% were taking the time to read them–if they took them out of their folders at all. Not exactly a good use of my time, and it’s a giant waste of paper. One day I asked my parents for their email addresses and asked my boss for a company email address for my classroom. (As it turned out, I was allowed to create a Gmail account)
As it turned out, parents love email! My read rate jumped from about 25% to over 80%, and I didn’t need to verbalize everything anymore. (except for those select few– every classroom has them.) Many of them read them at their leisure at work, and since I was writing them mid-day I could put requests out for that same afternoon.
Add a few pictures you took during the day, and pick 3-5 kids per day to write a little blurb about (Just make sure it doesn’t interfere with HIPPA policies).
It doesn’t even need to be long– maybe 2-3 paragraphs and some pictures. That’s it!
Lots of people have blogs– you’re reading one now! But, blogging isn’t just for jotting down life adventures anymore, it is a valuable marketing tool and with the right content strategy, a blog on your school’s website can send new enrollments flooding through your door.
New parents want to know what their child’s day looks like, and unenrolled parents won’t be receiving the emails or written correspondence that your teachers are writing to their families. Blogs allow prospects to glimpse what they can expect while their child is in your care, and it doesn’t have to be complicated– just updated! Events, teacher profiles, child success stories, excellent art projects– all ideas for your blog that showcases your school, and if you don’t have people on your staff that enjoy writing, there are a lot of local writers that would jump at the chance to be your personal blogger.
Dry Erase Board
Some people just don’t like writing. I get it writing is what I love to do, and it comes naturally to me. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have an effective form of communication with your parents. Another one I used that had a decent read rate was my dry erase board. I stuck it next to my front door with my sign in/out sheets and a few pieces of fresh art, and I’d use colorful markers to write down things we did during the day. It’s a little less personal since your space is limited, but you could keep up with it during the day by writing bullet points to highlight your activities. Then you could focus on naptime cuddles or sanitizing that room instead of toiling away writing down your whole day.
What rockstar communications does your school implement that you’ve found effective? Share them in the comments!
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