By Suzanne Lawson, Alumni Parent & Assistant Head of School
Today and tomorrow, November 8 and 9, we hold parent/teacher conferences for every child at Bridgeview Montessori School. We do not have classes these days, and every parent is encouraged to sign up for a 20-minute conference with their child’s teachers. We provide care for the children while their parents are talking with the teachers.
This is so very different from my experience when my daughter was in our neighborhood school. It was her Kindergarten year. She had been a student in Bridgeview’s Children’s House for the years before, but we really wanted to give the local school a chance… we had played on its playgrounds and sledded down its hills countless times, and we could walk to it on a sidewalk down a tree-lined street. Seemed idyllic!
I remember when parent/conference time rolled around at that school. Having heard nothing about our turn for a conference, I asked the teacher when we were going to sit down to chat about Jane’s learning and experience. The teacher said, “She’s fine. No reason to meet.” My husband and I, both independent school teachers, were surprised by this answer. We wanted to know about her experience: did she have friends, was learning joyous for her, what work seemed of particular interest to her, did she seem confident in the classroom, what were her growing edges, were there ways we could support her psyche at home…. And so much more. Were we being THOSE PARENTS. I think not; we just wanted to hear the stories!
Well, we were able to have our meeting and were met with the words, “Jane is doing fine.” We asked questions about our girl yet still feeling like the teacher wasn’t sure what we were looking for… she almost seemed defensive. Anyway, Jane did have a fine Kindergarten year, but her parents wanted more. Fortunately for us, we found Bridgeview Montessori School.
At Bridgeview Montessori School conferences, teachers relish the opportunities to share stories with parents. We do our very best to communicate the richness of each child, including emotional, social, academic, and developmental facets. We want to learn who each child is at home too. Our parent/teacher conferences are a wonderful time to enhance the school/family fit. We will tell you about your child at school, his strengths and his growing edges. We will listen as you tell us about your child at home, her favorite things, how she keeps her room, her extended family. Parents leave believing that we care and that we are striving to know their children deeply and in important ways.