Each year, we hold welcome conferences with new Pre-K families. Our hope is to connect with families, but it can be frustrating when many families can’t attend or reschedule. It leaves educators feeling defeated at a time when we need to feel hopeful and energized.
This fall we decided to do things differently. We held two parent meetings before school started and invited parents to come to one or the other. Freshly out of restorative practice circle training, we planned a circle with the components we had learned about: an opening signal, a reading, a centerpiece, talking piece, and two questions.
I’m going to be honest - we were nervous!
At each meeting. we explained that their children would be experiencing a version of this process. We asked families two questions:
- What is one thing you love about your child?
- What is one value you would like to pass on to your child?
The mood of the room shifted from uncomfortable and awkward to pleasant and easy as families passed around the talking piece. We wrote the values shared by families in the circle on the board. The words justice, bravery, courage, and respect echoed from both of our meetings.
We finished our meeting with full hearts and a deeper connection to our families. I can’t wait to do it again!
Written by Caitlin Reid, Preschool Teacher at Maxfield Elementary