DO's and DON'T's for open house

Open House is an opportunity to learn how to support your child and make a positive impression as a parent.

By Maxine Adams


Teachers across the nation are preparing their classrooms for the back-to-school rite of passage: Open House. Each year I watch parents sit in tiny student chairs and see the look of anticipation for the new year.

Parents can help make Open House a meaningful experience for everyone with a few tips:

DO volunteer. Imagine the high energy of your little one and multiply that by 20...that's first grade life everyday! Helping your child's teacher with simple tasks will give her more time to develop lessons and meet your child's academic needs. Even working parents can volunteer for take-and-make projects.

DO listen attentively. Learning about your child's day will help you make a stronger connection to your child's experience at school.

DO take notes. Write down questions that you feel will be important for your parent-teacher conference in the fall.

DO ask questions about topics covered or for clarification. You would be surprised how many parents you may help by voicing what everyone was thinking.

If my list of DON'Ts makes you cringe about what you might have done last year, never fear. Now is the time to start anew!

DON'T be a teacher hoarder. Cornering for the teacher for a parent conference isolates the teacher from welcoming and sharing with all parents. Make mental notes and email or call at a later time.

DON'T be a question monger. Ask a few questions or make general comments appropriately. It is important to use Q&A to help ALL parents understand what type of environment their child will experience each day.

DON'T leave without best form of contact information and a time frame for parent conferences and report cards.

Most importantly, DO leave the impression that you are an interested party in your child's education and look forward to working with the teacher.