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College of Human Ecology

Tips for Parents: parent-teacher relationships important to child's success

Monday, June 27, 2005

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Parents' developing a cordial relationship with their child's teacher can enhance the child's educational experience, said Charles A. "Chuck" Smith, Kansas State University Research and Extension child development specialist.

"Don't wait for parent-teacher conferences at mid-semester. Schedule time to meet the teacher at the beginning of the school year," said Smith, who encourages both parents to attend.

A meeting does not need to be long to be successful, but getting acquainted is important, said Smith, who offered these tips:

* Ask about the teacher's philosophy on education and how he or she views parents' roles,

* Ask about school policies, and

* Ask about the preferred methods of communication.

"Parents should feel free to offer a brief overview of their child's strengths and weaknesses, but should consider it as background for a teacher, rather than a list of do's and don'ts," Smith said.

The educational process typically opens the door for a child to develop new interests and build new skills, he said.

Smith recommends nurturing a cordial relationship with a child's teacher during the school year. A child who views his parents and teachers as a team may be more motivated.

As a child grows older and more teachers are involved in his or her school day, parents' contact with the school will change. Remaining involved - and supportive of the educational process - is still a good idea, Smith said.

"Let your child - and the school - know you care," he said.

More information on building successful family relationships is available at county or district K-State Research and Extension offices and on Smith's Web site: http://www.ksu.edu/wwparent/begin.html.

This article was posted on Monday, June 27, 2005, and is filed under College News, Family Studies & Human Services.