Back-to-school with the communication triangle

by Maureen Donnelly M.Ed July 13, 2018

back-to-school with the comunication triangle

It’s back-to-school season!

As the summer winds down, it’s time to look ahead to all that September brings: new kids, new schedules, and hopefully new learning opportunities. The transition between lazier summer days to more hectic school days can be challenging. But there is one thing we might all do to transition more smoothly: communicate. It sounds simple, right? The thing about communication is that when you do it early and often, you’ll have easier adult partnerships and more successful kids.

With this in mind, let’s drill down to the first corner of the communication triangle: parents.

Communicating with parents

It might be as simple as a text, or as thorough as a home visit. Either way, these families are yours for at least the next year, and a simple "hello" can go a long way toward establishing trust. Another idea is to implement a communication log between home and school. While we may be the education experts, parents are kid experts, at least when it comes to their own. A friendly, open channel is as rewarding for grown-ups as it is beneficial for kids. Take a moment and create that opportunity to say hi. 

Now let’s look at the second corner: colleagues.

Communicating with colleagues

Have you ever thought about how many adults all serve the same child? Touching base with related service professionals, sharing IEP goals, establishing priorities, and listening will set the stage for more meaningful collaborations across the entire team. Be sure to reach out as soon as you return. It will give you the best shot for finding time to meet while setting an expectation that it is time well-spent.

Last, let’s look at the third and last corner of the communication triangle: kids

Communicating with kids

Many, if not all the kids who walk through our classroom doors come to us with years of struggle. These struggles are often made manifest in anxious, apathetic, or oppositional behaviors.  One quick, easy method to manage these behaviors is to create a daily visual schedule. Visual schedules communicate what to expect and when to expect it, which leads to feelings of control. Can you remember the last time you went somewhere and didn’t know what to expect? At best, it’s uncomfortable and at worst, anxiety-provoking. Visual schedules can and do help.

As you head back into your classroom, start by touching each corner of the communication triangle. It’s a way to convert an idea into action. Can you think of a better way to start the new school year?

Maureen Donnelly M.Ed
Maureen Donnelly M.Ed

Maureen Donnelly, M.Ed, is an early childhood educator who currently holds the position of Curriculum Manager at Tobii Dynavox. Before this, Maureen contributed to the creation of numerous products that support emergent readers of diverse abilities and ages. Maureen lives and works in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in an office stuffed with children’s books.

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