Parents in Preschools: Seek first to understand

As a preschool director I find one of the most important things I can do is to understand parents. And at the same time I find it can be one of the hardest things to do. While I am a parent my children are grown. I have a different perspective having gone through adolescents with three strong willed children who were bound and determined to push me away as far as they could, only to come back as amazing adults.

Well, I have a puppy, and in this experience I have been reminded of how it feels to be a new parent, with a vulnerable being. My puppy is 2 pounds eight ounces and her name is Sofi. She reminds me of a toddler, with her uncoordinated body, her inability to regulate herself, her neediness and her fun spirit.

At the same time I an anxious, waking up in the middle of the night, wondering if she is ok when I am at work, showing pictures of her and telling everyone how smart she is.

When we work with parents I believe we have an obligation to see their child as that little pup, so young and fresh, their pride and joy. When you are looking for a preschool be sure to get a feel for the director and the teachers by interacting with them when possible. Do they smile when you walk in the classroom? Are you greeted or glared at?

Many times I have heard teachers being negative about parents coming into the school environment. While it can be disruptive, I believe we make unstructured time in a school program where parents are welcome to come in and have a visit. Many days I have seen the need for a parent to come in and observe their child, watching them and being able to see what is going on in the school. This can create trust, build a bond and reassure parents that their child is settled and doing well.

When looking at preschools take the time to tour and visit the school while in session. You will come to know if it is a place where parents are being understood and valued. A place where you can chat with a teacher, hear how your child is doing, a place where you belong.

 Debbie has been an early childhood educator for the past twenty years as a preschool teacher, director and parent educator. She is a member of the National Association of Early Childhood Educators, Pasadena City College’s Advisory Board and a local preschool directors networking group. Debbie is the owner and Director of La Canada Preschool. Her vision is to provide the best environment for children to experience discovery and their sense of wonder at this magical moment in human development. 

Short Painting Life

Glendale is such a cool city to live in with really cool communities and cool people living in them. Tell us what you are doing and what makes your community so neat. We are posting this video of Local Glendale artist Farzad Kohan and his Super daughter made a short film. I love the California lifestyle that we share in Glendale. I love that fathers and daughters are combining their creative talents to make such a fun, cool project!

Spread Out!

It used to be that  would tell one of our three sons, “It is a BIG planet people, spread out!” As I watched our twelve year old walk to Rosemont for his first day as a seventh grader last week, all I could think was, “please don’t grow up too fast.”  Funny how that works, huh?

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