Building Strong Partnerships: Parents Orientation Day
17 October 2017
Parents Orientation Day
It is the beginning of the first term! We started the academic year right by encouraging the parents to be involved in the POD gathering. Being involved, corresponds to the school’s mission of working hand-in-hand with one another within ISMILE community. During the orientation, curriculum was explained and how ISMILE consistently values the children and how they are guided in learning. It was also emphasized that according to Reggio Emilia, the environment is the “third teacher”, that supports a child for provocation and insights. In addition to this, parents were also informed about their involvement in various school events throughout the year.
Once the general information was disseminated, parents were grouped according to their children’s respective classes. Then, they were given specific details such as benchmark, tips on how they can help their child to overcome separation anxiety, and other information with regard to other activities per level. Teachers and parents took this event as an opportunity to get to know each other better. Class parents were voted, schedule for parent volunteers were organised and their names were noted as well. Questions and concerns of the parents were thoroughly answered regarding their child’s behaviour and what to expect from them.
Parent’s involvement in their child’s development supports educators in meeting the challenges and attaining the goals for each learning experience for the child. It is believed that children whose parents take part in their education perform better in school. As Jane D. Hull says, “At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to success is the positive involvement of parents.” To strengthen this belief, ISMILE Plaza Indonesia held its Parent Orientation Day for Nursery 1 to Kindergarten 2 parents last Saturday, July 29, 2017. The program started with a prayer and was followed by a short welcome message by Ms. Pipi, Center Director. Teachers were also introduced by highlighting their qualifications and teaching experiences. Ms. Lisa, the center coordinator, gave an overview on how ISMILE views each child and the introduction to Reggio Emilia Approach, which gives each child the chance to discover his own learning.
ISMILE PI is one big classroom, each classroom represents a learning center. Classes get to rotate in the different classrooms during the day. The parents were toured around the different learning centers such as the Numeracy and Literacy Room, the Light and Shadow / Pretend Play Room, the Arts and Construction Room and the Science Discovery Room, for them to fully appreciate what the children do and learn in each center. It was emphasized that rotating to the different classrooms provides the children with a holistic experience every day. Parents also got the opportunity to meet their child’s teachers and to discuss the benchmarks for each level. This was also the time when parents raised questions, shared, discussed the partnership with the school on how to support their child’s learning. It was a very productive day. We believe that this partnership could benefit no one, but our children.
New Academic year, new spirit, new hope and new blessing. Praise God for the first Parent’s Orientation Day. We opened the POD with praise and worship. We sang the worship song “Shout to the Lord” led by Teachers’ ukelele team. There were 32 parents who joined the POD. In this POD we talked about vision and mission of our school. Ms. J presented ISMILE profile and curriculum and explained about Reggio Emilia, Multiple Intelligences, Montessori and Vygotsky approach. This group activity was done in the hall and after that, parents were asked to go to their children’s respective classroom to talk about each benchmark and some reminders from the teachers.
The very first Parents Orientation in ISMILE Menteng was held last July 29, 2017. Attendees from across all levels came. The occasion was significant as the new ISMILE Framework and the team of teachers were officially introduced to them.
Parents were attentive as the revised mission and vision statements and core beliefs of the school – about the child, the environment, time, the educator, the family, relationships, and values – were outlined and highlighted. There was effort in opening the hearts and minds of the parents as the school embarks on a new endeavor – embracing the Reggio Emilia Inspired approach.
Getting to know the teachers who will serve as primary caregivers for their children while in school also paved the way in forging a working and harmonious relationship. This was also given emphasis when respective class teachers held a small-group discussion of the class learning flow, level benchmarks, school events, and other important details.
Each group of attendees were led by the teachers on a tour of the new school premises both indoors and outdoors. They were given to experience first-hand the teacher-prepared provocations and learning centers – academic, gym, construction, art, pretend play, music, library, and exploratory. One of the main draws was also the children’s exposure and access to nature through the garden, which featured sand pits, climbing branches, ever flowing waterfalls-stream, swing set and a slide, wooden balance beams, blackboards, and wooden patio sets.
Having a better understanding of the learning approaches and landscapes helped the parents grasp and welcome the changes ushered this academic year. It is our fervent hope that parents and teachers alike strengthen their connection with open communication and mutual support for the betterment of each ISMILE child.
“When parents or guardians and teachers work together well, everyone wins.” – Julia Thompson