Five Tips for a Productive Head Start Program in the New School Year
So it’s that time of year again… Back to school! Are you prepared to have a successful school year? Here five tips to ensure a productive program with your Head Start children and families:
1. Reflect on the Past: Experience is the ultimate learning tool. Great teachers are constantly looking for new ideas and methods to apply to their classroom. You should never be afraid to try a new approach, but understand that sometimes it works, sometimes it needs tweaked, and sometimes it will need thrown out altogether. A teacher must allow experiences, both good and bad, to guide their overall approach to teaching.
2. It is a New Year: Never come into a school year or classroom with preconceived notions. Every student who walks into your classroom deserves the chance to come in with a clean slate. A teacher who has preconceived notions can be detrimental to the overall development of a particular student or a group of students.
3. Set Goals: Every teacher should have a set of expectations or goals that they want their students to reach. Teachers should also have a list of personal goals to improve in specific areas of weakness that they have. It is okay that goals be adjusted either way as the year moves along. Sometimes your goals may be too easy for a particular student and sometimes they may be too difficult. It is essential that you set high goals and expectations for all your students. Just remember that every student has their own unique needs.
4. Set the Tone: The first few days and weeks of school will often set the tone for the entire school year. A teacher should seize that opportunity to establish a solid rapport with their students, but at the same time respectively show them who is in charge. A teacher who comes in with the mindset that they want every student to like them will lose respect quickly, and it will be a difficult year.
5. Make Contact: Getting parents to trust that you have their child’s best interest in mind is paramount. In addition, try to contact each parent personally early on by setting up parent committees, emailing them, conducting a home visit, or inviting them up for an open room night. Establishing trustworthy relationships with parents early on when things are going good will make it easier should you begin to have issues. Parents can be your biggest ally, and they can be your biggest enemy. Investing the time and effort early on to win them to your side will make you more effective.
Have a great program year!