Spring is here-which for a school that serves all kindergarten students-means it is time to meet the students and families of the 2018-19 school year. When you register 300-400 students for kindergarten in just two days you learn what works, what doesn’t, and how to continually adjust things to continue to meet everyone’s needs.
April 12th and 13th of 2018 is our first opportunity to make an important impression on our future learners and their parents and at #WoodsonK we take this opportunity as seriously as a high school teacher does in preparing students for a final exam.
Setting the stage:
This year we have changed the routine. Instead of all parents coming into the gym to listen to a 20 minute talk by the principal, we are escorting parents into small group sessions into classrooms to listen to a recorded presentation and then have time to ask questions of classrooms teachers and have a tour of the school included. We try to get out as much information before they arrive to prepare them for this big event. In support of this we created a video that gave parents a sense of what happens at Kindergarten Registration in Austin.
Remembering our why.
At a recent staff meeting we all got up on our feet, with our paper agenda and walked through the registration process as a parent from start to finish. We talked through what a parent might be feeling as they went to each table, and explained the paperwork we needed and why it was important. We walked down our school halls with a new lens in mind-a first time parent-and found new ways to calm fears about 400 five year olds in one space. At the end we shared our own stories and felt more confident explaining the process to families that approach us out in the community.
Not a one and done.
We stress multiple times that this is only the families first feet on campus opportunity.
We encourage them to join our Facebook page to get a sense of what happens everyday at #WoodsonK.
We give every family a Packer In Training bag of tools and help sheets to support families in summer learning.
When we frame interactions with families coming from a place of building opportunities to learn from their child’s first teacher we can start having a meaningful conversation with parents. Finding time to build those relationships requires creativity, effort and time to engage with parents in any way possible.
Continue to Dream Big for our Littlest Learners (and of course their parents as well)