The interviews provide an opportunity for parents to meet the teacher, see the classroom, and ask questions about their child’s progress. It is also an opportunity for the teacher to ask questions that will provide a better background understanding of the child that is struggling in his/her adjustment to the Kindergarten program. You may want to know if the child has siblings, has opportunities for play dates, or gets enough sleep.
To prepare for interviews, I do the following:
- review anecdotal notes, highlighting any positive comments as well as any concerns
- look through examples of child’s work, and have it on hand to refer to during the interview
- have a copy of the SK report
- make note of something positive to start the interview, and something to work on with the child to end the interview.
I like to use a basic notepad and dedicate a page to each student. At the top of the page I write their name and time of interview. I copy the points that I highlighted from my anecdotal records to ensure that I can easily refer to them during the interview. (When you get in a roll of interview after interview without a break, your memory should not be relied on!) I then add parent/guardian comments from the interview and next steps for myself to follow up with. I can then refer to this notepad when I am measuring progress in the next couple of months.
Since JK students do not receive a report at this time, a half-page checklist can be created as a reference for parents. List items like; can recognize first name, can write first name, can count to 10, can follow routines independently, etc. This can also be created for your own use to guide the interview and be kept as a reference to see progress when you write the JK reports in January.
Interviews can be difficult if you need to address challenges that the child is experiencing. A good way to approach these interview is by starting with your observations in the classroom, then asking the parents/guardians, “What are you seeing at home?” Often, parents see the same behaviours or have similar struggles, which they will expand on when the discussion is directed in this way.
You may want to set up a desk or table in the hall for parents that are waiting for their interview. It can have a clock (set to the same time as your clock in the classroom), resources for parents that you may find applicable from public health, the public library, or a list of websites that you think would be beneficial. This is also an opportunity to display a project, photos (even a digital photo frame!), or some form of documentation that the parents can enjoy while waiting for your interview.