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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It's Not a Report Card....and other important things to know!!

Prior to opening BELA we gathered community members together as a Focus Group to find out what parents were looking for in a preschool! We gathered a lot of valuable information from this experience, and it led us to do, or NOT do, many things at BELA!

One thing we heard from our focus group was that they weren’t sure “where” their child should be at, developmentally. They also expressed that in their past experiences at preschools, that they sometimes didn’t have a clear understanding of what their child was learning at school and how they were learning it!  Parents also mentioned that they felt they didn’t have much interaction with their child’s teacher.  Further, the parents asked,  “How will we know what to work on at home or what areas we should be focusing on?” and “ How will I know if my child is ready for Kindergarten?”  

The focus group result was  that 74% of parents indicated that a “variety of communication methods, including: in person and written formats throughout the year to update parents on student progress.” was very important to them. 82% of parents also rated the following as very important “Time to meet with teachers (specified times, feedback, emails) particularly for working parents,”

Communication is of the utmost importance to us and we strive to communicate often and in different ways. The focus group data sharpened our focus on communication and led us to create three specific experiences for our parents.

Twice per year we invite our parents and students to take part in Family learning Celebrations. On these evenings our excited little students get to show their families what they have been learning and teach them about their daily routines at BELA. It is a time for parents to watch, listen and learn as their child “teaches” them!  The children have a chance to share their Learning Portfolios with their parents.  This collection of work samples, collected over time, allows parents to gain information about their child’s developing skills and knowledge. Parents also have a chance to look through the class Science & Math Journals and see photos and descriptions of what our students have been learning. It is so much fun and we always look forward to these evenings.

 Additionally, twice per year we send our Learning Outcomes Checklists home for our parents. Our checklists, describe the specific learning outcomes for the three year olds, or for the four year olds, depending on the age of your child. These checklists are meant to inform the parents about learning outcomes appropriate for children at a particular age, or developmental level. This is not a report card, but rather is a checklist highlighting what a ‘typically developing child’ could be expected to know/do at this age. The learner outcomes are a combination of our BELA Program Statement, which is adapted from the Kindergarten Program Statement provided by Alberta Education, and current research regarding developmental milestones for children ages three and four years old. The checklist provides information for each individual child’s progress with the learning outcomes they are working on in their class, at this time.

We hope you enjoy these experiences, as they were specifically developed for you and for your BELA student.

 While we strive to communicate effectively we, at the same time put responsibility on the parents as well. It is both your right and your responsibility to come to us with concerns. The staff can only support you if we are aware of concerns you have. It is your responsibility to ensure you are aware of the details of daily life at BELA. We support you by notifying you in various ways. When our BELA parents needs to know something, we generally tell you in three ways or even four. We send a notice home or include it in the newsletter, post it on ourFacebook Page ,our Twitter account & and sometimes on our website We use different mediums to offer you choice in where you get your information. It is up to you what medium you use most often to check into the happenings of the school. Our Parent Handbook that you received at orientation is also a great source of information for policies and practices that are permanent.

Our door is always open. If you have concerns or questions about your child’s learning or about our practices at BELA, please come and see us. Thank you for communicating with us and being open to the information we are providing! 


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