by Katie Brazerol
Have you ever felt like you work your tail off singing songs, building blocks, pretending to be community helpers, implementing art projects…
…only to have parents assume you don’t do much during the day? When I was a child care provider, I strived to provide the children in my setting with a well-rounded preschool education. This included the FunShine Express curriculum, along with several self-created activities during the day. One day shortly after beginning the new school year, one of my child care parents stopped to talk to me when she came to pick up her daughter. She casually asked what we had been up to that week. After a few minutes of cheerfully jabbering on about all the fun things we had done, she said, “Huh. E. said that you watched television for three hours yesterday.” I’m not sure what shocked me more- that she would assume her four-year-old could accurately gauge and tell time or that she would assume that I would allow the children to watch television for three hours!
I had to take a deep breath and formulate my thoughts so that I did not come off as defensive. After all, the first thing I ask my kids when they get home from school is “What did you do today?” As calmly as I could, I stressed that we absolutely did NOT watch three hours of television and gave a lengthy description of all the things we DID do. I figured out quickly that it was important for me to share (and more importantly, for parents to see) what we did during the day. I set up a Facebook account for my child care and created release forms for posting relevant pictures of the activities we enjoyed. I also printed photos of the children doing everyday preschool activities and posted them on the wall by my child care entrance.
With all of the technology available now, consider including parents in your day. With their permission, post group shots of dramatic play, post cute art projects, and relate funny stories that happened throughout the day (excluding names, of course). Not all settings are allowed to use social media, and not all parents are comfortable having their children in cyberspace. That’s okay. Many parents might feel comfortable receiving emails containing photo attachments. Consider printing photos of some of the things you do during the day and sharing them with parents or posting them in an area where the parents convene during drop-off or pick-up times. Write some of the highlights of the day on a white board near your entrance.
Be sure to follow your local child care guidelines in regards to posting photos of children, and make sure you have each family’s permission to take their child’s photo. Find out what works best for your setting so that you can show parents what really goes on in between drop-off and pick-up times!