Building Supportive Relationships
On Wednesday, May 24th all Soar in 4 summer staff, volunteers and partners were invited to a Soar in 4 meet and greet at the South Florida Museum. The summer Soar in 4 program will be held at 3 elementary schools in Manatee County, Ballard, Rogers Garden Bullock and Sea Breeze.
The target audience for the summer Soar in 4 events are VPK students and their families who have enrolled for the 2017-18 school year at Ballard, Rogers Garden-Bullock or Sea Breeze Elementary school. The purpose of these summer Soar in 4 events is to support families and their VPK child as they become familiar with their child’s teacher, acclamate to the school campus and to support learning together all summer so that the family and their VPK child is ready and prepared to start school.
Substantial evidence exists that shows that parent involvement benefits students, including raising their academic achievement. The Soar in 4 summer program is designed to enhance positive parent-school communications through weekly teacher and parent communication throughout the summer.
Every other week classroom teachers and school staff phone the parents of their incoming students. A sample script ensures key components are covered and that the conversation format remains consistent; an introduction, positive comments, relationship building dialogue and an invitation for on going engagement. The manner in which schools communicate and interact with parents affects the extent and quality of parents’ home involvement with their children’s learning.
Every other week family activities will consist of 4 evening on campus school activities and 1 evening family field trip to Manatee County’s Central Library. These nights are a valuable opportunity for families to learn important information about their child’s classroom experience and expectations.
Each evening event will consist of dinner, orientation to the school, an introduction to the school staff, and a preview our one of our 4 units of study. Families will experience an overview of their child’s day together. Modeling will take place all evening as Mom and Dad will become their child’s teacher as they demonstrate going through the cafeteria line for dinner, sitting and participating in morning circle time, listening to a group story and interacting and exploring during center time.
Attendees to the meet and greet participated in a mock demonstration of a summer Soar in 4 family event. A vital component to a successful Soar in 4 experience is preparation. The coordinators, classroom teachers, school staff and volunteers had the opportunity to
experience the scope of the Soar in 4 summer program, they were able to see all of the unit preview materials and review all of the take home materials that were supplied by our generous sponsors.
Parent involvement can make a difference in a child’s education. National survey data shows that attending school meetings or events is the leading form of parent participation in school events; 78 percent attended a parent-teacher conference and 74 percent attended a class or school event
(The National Center for Education Statistics’ Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey for the 2007 National Household Education Surveys Program (Herrold and O’Donnell, 2008)
An often underutilized component for student success, especially in the early years, is a positive relationship between the classroom teacher and the parent. Regular communication between the teacher and parent encourages more deeper and meaningful conversations about shared expectations.
And so it began on May 24th….building relationships with the Soar in 4 summer staff, volunteers and partners so they in turn could build supportive relationships with their 2017-18 VPK students and their families.