Posted on August 20, 2011
This week parents of students in kindergarten and multiage first and second grade will participate in a long honored school ritual called Open House. (Next Wednesday parents of fifth graders and multiage third and fourth graders will attend Open House.) I remember my own parents leaving us to Swanson t.v. dinners and a family relative while they sped away in our Chevy Impala so they could attend the meeting with my teachers. Even as parents of three sons in three different schools, my husband and I faithfully attended each child's Open House event from preschool through high school. That's at least 45 open houses! From the teacher perspective, the school open house, next to the end-of-semester conference, is THE most important parent gathering of the year, and there are high expectations that at least one parent attend the meeting. What might you expect at the elementary Open House at Mid-Pacific?
At about 5:30pm, parents will walk directly to Wilcox Hall (the elementary dining room) for light pupus and to meet other parents. Since the event concludes at 7:30pm, we'll begin at 6:00pm during which time I'll introduce members of the parent `Ohana and the K-2 faculty. The K-2 specialist teachers of art, music, character education, and physical education will provide a brief overview of their curriculum, then after a few announcements, all parents will walk to their child's classroom.
A day or two before Open House, your child's teacher might send home or email information that's typically addressed at the parent meeting. I suggest that you read the material and arrive at Open House with questions you may have about the teacher's expectations, procedures, the nature of an inquiry-based curriculum, instructional practices, homework or student assessment. Most teachers prepare powerpoint presentations with photos or video clips to illustrate their talking points. And most teachers will engage parents in a learning activity that demonstrates some aspect of learning or problem-solving processes. Expect to participate in discussion and to volunteer for any of the classroom or `Ohana activities.
Although I never really knew what my own parents took away from Open House each year for their three children, I do know that our MPI parents encounter some new ideas and discover what's most important about the learning their children experience daily. It's about how we value our students' thinking processes, encourage their questions, guide the many ways in which they find answers to their questions, support the development of their working relationships with one another, and help them see that classroom learning is directly connected to living meaningful lives.
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey