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How Was School Today?

on Thu, 12/13/2012 - 10:13

Our son, Sam’s first months of kindergarten have been going well. He loves his teacher, has made new friends, and once in a while even tells us what’s happening at school. While Sam is usually a chatterbox, he’s quiet about school. Actually he’s quiet about what he does at school. We know lots of things about his friends.

It’s hard to get information from him. When I pick him up, he tends to focus on what’s happening next—whether it’s an afterschool activity, play date, homework, or snack—instead of talking about the school day.

 

If we ask an open-ended question like “How was school?” or “What did you do today?” we get answers of “Good” or “Nothing” that give us no real information. 

Sam doesn’t expand much beyond his initial answer. I get the sense from him that his day is very busy and it’s difficult for him to pinpoint something to talk about unless it comes up in conversation.

What’s terrific is that Sam’s teacher set up an account on shutterfly.com for parents to access. In addition to photos, she provides information on what the children are working on. It’s been great to read the postings and see the classroom in action.

After checking the online updates, we have a better sense of what to talk with Sam about and how to extend the conversations or bring up specific topics. It’s made for some very nice chats about school.

As an added bonus, the photos are wonderful! It’s such fun to see the kids working together on various projects. In preschool Sam seemed to focus on one friend at a t

 

ime, so it’s also nice to see him interacting with so many of his classmates.

Of course, it’s always fun when we learn something about school without prompting. After a field trip to a pumpkin patch, Sam was eager to teach us the difference between hay and straw. Over Thanksgiving weekend he shared information he learned in school about pilgrims. Those moments are still rare, so we’re grateful for the online updates his teacher provides.

I know from other parents it's not easy finding out what happened at school. How do you find out about what’s going on at your child’s school?  Do you know just what questions to ask your child?  Do you receive information from the teacher online, in person or another way? We’d like to know!


Mary Jaffe is Managing Editor at NAEYC. 

Comments

...to find out what goes on during the day while your child is at school.  I generally figured out what went on by: talking to my son, taking in info from his teacher, talking to other parents - they heard about what went on too.  Photos online sounds like a great way to see first hand what's happening.  thanks for sharing.

Try phrasing your questions so they can't be answered with "good". For example, ask what was the most fun thing he did, or who did he play with, or what was the best thing that happened. He will have to answer in some detail.

Both in my career in early education and my experience in parenting, I have always found it best to avoid questions all together.  Even "What was the most fun thing you did today?" can result in "I don't know", or "Who did you play with?" can draw a response of "the kids."   I have relied upon the old, trusty, prompt of "Tell me about your day."  (which I also use for artwork, i.e. "Tell me about your picdture").  It's not a question, it's technically a "command" (though I don't view it as a command, exactly, since they can choose not to respond.   I have found that questions offer too many options for blowing you off, whereas a request for them to tell you often prompts terrific responses.  I highly recommend it.

I send a newletter home via email, every Friday.  I include photos and descriptions of what the children have done over the week - just like the teacher you mentioned.  I also try to include prompt questions - for parents to ask children.  I have to confess that writing it isn't my favorite way to spend my Friday evenings, but once I am fiinished, I am always glad to have done it.  It helps me gather my thoughts and I know that parents value the information and ways it can help them connect with the children.  

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