Monday, August 17, 2009

Back to School Parent Report

My little girl is starting Kindergarten in just over a week. I have mixed emotions of pride and trepidation as I prepare to send my oldest into what may prove to be her biggest challenge yet. A good portion of the Summer, for me, has been all about preparing for this next big move. One of my favorite pieces of the transition plan is what I want to share with you in this post. I did not come up with this idea on my own. One of the parent support groups that we've been active with posted this tool on their website. The idea of a Parent Report is to introduce your child to their teacher in writing. It lets you communicate who your child is, what their specific needs are, what their strengths are, and various techniques or strategies that work best at home and may translate to a classroom. It also lets you express thoughts about confidentiality and advocacy that are otherwise hard to communicate. I added a picture of my daughter, plus one of some artwork that she did (see above) and one of her more creative dress up outfits. If you follow the Parent Report link above you'll be taken to a page where you can download a template for a report. Customize it for your child and hand it over to your child's teacher at the earliest possible opportunity. I tweaked the format a little bit, and wrote about each of the following topics:

Overview - 2 sentence introduction
2008-2009 School Year - what her Early Intervention Program looked like
Summer 2009 - where we travelled, summer activities and therapies
General challenges - important points that didn't fall neatly into other categories
Developmental Issues - specific diagnoses and areas of challenge
Recommendations - things that have worked successfully at home or in previous schooling
Typical day and home life - an outline of her day
Home Program - what we do as a family to support her
Confidentiality vs. Community building - do you want total privacy or do you want to help advocate not only for your child but for other special needs children, or something in between?

Our report ended up being five pages. On the one hand it seems like a lot for someone to read, on the other hand it hardly seems adequate to summarize the complex individual that my child is. If nothing else, it helped me solidify my own ideas of my best hopes for this first year of formal education. I hope it will be helpful to you as well.


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