Closing the gap between school and home :)

Closing the gap between school and home :)

In an ever-busy and increasingly demanding classroom, it can be very difficult to forge strong home-school links. Too often, communication with parents is limited to reporting the ‘bad news’. Sometimes ensuring a strong social line from the school to the home is difficult because you don’t quite know the approach or tone to take.

This year I’ve found the opportunity to communicate with parents using ClassDojo to be integral in maintaining strong links to the home. From a practical point of view, the parent can check in on their child’s progress so they feel like more of an active participant than a passive bystander in their child’s daily school life. But moreover, I’ve found the simple messages of ‘Remember it’s Swimming tomorrow’ or ‘Don’t forget to bring your coat for the Sponsored Walk!’ to be a subtle but incredibly useful way to utilise the potential of ClassDojo. The parent gets an alert, they don’t need to say anything back. They’re happy to have the reminder!

Sometimes we struggle to reach out to busy parents whose children may not be ‘on the radar’, but who would still like to check in and ask simple questions if work schedules would permit. ClassDojo can help you to bridge that social barrier where a parent can check in with you very quickly, from their phone or computer, if they can’t reach you in person or over the phone. This year, my parents have used ClassDojo to explain absences or seek permission for class/school activities. They love this aspect of the app.

I’ve also found it much more efficient because I don’t lose notes or have to recall where permission slips or absence records have been kept – with everything centralised through ClassDojo, there is an electronic record of all parental correspondence. It’s confidential and the children don’t see the correspondence, a key attribute for me.

Before I started using ClassDojo for this purpose I was worried that it might be a bit too formal – where possible I still like to have as much face-to-face correspondence with my parents as possible. However, parents really appreciate me providing this service – because it’s free, it’s simple, and the app/site is really easy to maneuver. It makes life incredibly accessible.

If you’re considering reaching out to parents through ClassDojo, don’t be put off by thinking only some parents will use it. If one or two parents are using it, in my opinion, that’s still fantastic! You’re offering them another way to reach out to you and engage in their child’s education. I can’t help but think if I were a parent, I would really like the idea of being able to drop a quick line to the class teacher to check in or ask a question – particularly if the question is a routine one that shouldn’t require me to check in or write a formal note to excuse something.

Parents feel more useful when they’re able to, for example, explain a part of homework they might have struggled with. A parent who wants to alert me to something they’ve seen that might be of use in class, doesn’t want to put me out by coming to the door and seeking a formal meeting over it. The simple correspondence with our parents is just that – simple – and ClassDojo fits the bill beautifully.

For those children who rely heavily on ClassDojo as a tool for positive classroom management, communicating with parents via Dojo helps to emphasise the positive behaviour the child is exhibiting. Those ‘I caught you being good’ moments that you can share, perhaps even during the school day, will mean so much to the child, teacher and parent as they get on the right track together and seek to stay there.

So how do you use ClassDojo to communicate with parents? Are there any particular aspects of the communication you would recommend to others? Leave us a comment below and help us learn from your wisdom!