The parent-teacher relationship

Parent-teacher relationships are an important factor in a child’s first year at school, writes Samantha Page, CEO of Early Childhood Australia.

Starting school is a big adjustment for children. It entails a new routine, a new place to go every day, new people and a lot of new information. But it’s also a huge adjustment for parents, and for teachers and principals getting to know each new child. As parents and teachers make this transition alongside the children, there is a lot they can do to help each other get through the first year of school with children feeling confident.

Children are likely to have a mixture of feelings – excitement, nervousness and a little bit of fear. Some will take to school like ducks to water, some will be more cautious, and others will need support. Children who make a positive start are more likely to feel comfortable and relaxed, good about themselves as learners, and feel a sense of belonging to the school community.

Every child will require different things to achieve that positive start, and this is where parents and teachers play a crucial role. Parents will already have a sense of how their child copes with change, and strategies that can be used to help them. This can be invaluable information for a teacher who is getting to know the needs of individual students and a new set of classroom dynamics.

Teachers can help parents understand the day-to-day experiences children have in the classroom and schoolyard. They can provide insight into what a child is learning, the friendships they are making, and anything with which they might be having difficulty.

Early Childhood Australia collaborated with the Australian Primary Principals Association to produce the book Your Child’s First Year At School: Getting Off To A Good Start, which encourages this sharing of information. Both organisations understand partnerships between parents, teachers and principals are incredibly helpful in preparing children for school and ensuring any problems that arise are dealt with in the best way possible.

Authors Jenni Connor and Pam Linke consulted with parents, teachers, principals and experts to compile tips and information on everything from supporting a child’s emotional wellbeing at school to ideas for what to put in their lunch boxes.

We believe if teachers feel they can easily talk to parents, they’re more likely to be kept in the loop, and in turn, if parents let the teacher know a bit more about their child, it will help them connect in class. Helping parents and teachers in this way helps the children, and this, of course, is the main goal for everyone involved.


First Yr at school booklet

Your child’s transition to school is one of the most important years of their life. The colourful 66-page publication is $19.95; easy to read and contains practical tip boxes to help busy parents and carers digest essential information.