This I Believe…
As I walked into my preschool classroom that Monday morning, I looked around and saw some familiar faces exploring their new setting. I was familiar with the children who used to be next door. But since the preschool year was over, it was time for the daycare kids to transition to my room. While I was looking at all of the children who got moved that morning, I heard “Looks like you get to be the one to potty train the new batch of kids”. I let out a chuckle as my co-teacher stepped beside me, smiling at her previous statement. She continued to say, “I’ve been potty training the new kids here for over 6 years… so now that you’re here, I’m bestowing that responsibility on to you.” I’ve always had the motivation to help others achieve goals, but I was new to being a teacher, had no prior knowledge of working with parents, and had never potty trained anyone. If I could go back in time to give advice, I would tell myself to start by talking to the families. I believe working with families is the best way to set and reach goals; however, I didn’t always know this.
At the time, I hadn’t even thought of talking to the families, so each day I slowly worked with the children to reach the goal. After a few weeks, one of the children was staying dry for days at a time. I wasn’t at work when the child got picked up and dropped off, so I hadn’t been able to personally talk to the parents about the potty training. Finally, the child had gotten dropped off late and I was able to talk to his mom. I had expressed to them that he seemed ready for underwear because he was staying dry. The next thing the parent said was, “Great! He’s been wearing underwear at home for weeks now. We’ve just been sending him in the pullups because we weren’t sure how he was doing here with the potty training.” I was happy to know that he’d been doing well in underwear at home, but part of me felt defeated because I had spent weeks potty training him to a level that he was already at. Ever since then, I learned that it not only helps to work with families so that you can communicate about goals, but you can also learn a lot from the family and ensure that you’re both on the same page.
In many situations, communication is key, which applies to working and partnering with families. When I communicate with families to set and achieve goals, I get to build a bond with the family. In addition to the knowledge that the family directly gives me, I also get to gain insight into the child’s life. When I collaborate with families, we create a partnership where both sides are on the same page. Being on the same page ensures that goals are getting worked on at home as well as at school.
As I continue to work with children, my first step will always be to talk to the family. I wholeheartedly believe that the best way to set and achieve goals for children is by working with the families. The family and I benefit from working together, but overall, the child is benefited most as they have a full support system encouraging and helping them develop.