Good programs offer a parent orientation that welcomes families into their communities. Programs that enroll many children at once (if they offer a traditional calendar) may hold one or two orientations before the school year begins. However, if you have rolling admissions, it shouldn’t matter. Families deserve a sold orientation to your program, its philosophy, an introduction to the teachers and a comprehensive tour of the environment.
Two weeks ago, I mentioned that programs might include questions on their intake paperwork that asks parents about their hopes for their child’s experiences in child care and education. The orientation is the time to articulate the program’s philosophy to the families. It is the first opportunity to make clear what the program hopes to provide for children. Ideally, the director would speak to the program’s vision and mission and teachers would speak to the day-to-day life of children in the program.
When I was a director, I would speak to the parents as a large group. This nearly paralyzed me with fear. I wanted to much to let them know how much the work meant to me; how I would move mountains, if need be, for their children and how I believed whole-heartedly in the work we were doing. It is really hard to get this across in a 10 minute speech, so rather than trying to, I simply told them a story that illustrated the philosophy of the program and displayed the passion that I feel for working with children and families. I think if you can get this across, parents will believe in you and your program.
Would anyone out there be interested in working on writing their vision statement for their program?