What should SLPs do on meet the teacher night during back to school? Whether your school calls it curriculum night, meet the teacher or open house-it’s all the same idea. Parents come and meet their child’s new teacher, see their classroom and get a brief overview of what the school year will look like. And then there’s us SLPs: sitting in our rooms hoping someone will come by. That is how I always felt anyways.
Let’s look at some ideas that you can do as an Speech Language Pathologist during meet the teacher nights to be proactive in meeting families and making your position known.
ARE YOU A NEW SLP?
Are you new to working in a school as an SLP? There may be very slight differences in meet the teacher vs. curriculum night vs. open house. Let’s chat about those differences quickly before we get into recommendations for SLPs:
Open house is usually held right before school begins but that’s not always the case. It absolutely begins on your school and district’s procedures. This is a night where the doors are open to parents and students. They can come walk around and become acclimated to where their classroom is located and who their teacher will be. Typically, students bring their new school supplies with them to open house.
MEET THE TEACHER NIGHT
Meet the teacher night can honestly be another name for open house. It can be held before the school year begins or 1-2 weeks into the school year. It is a chance to calm the nerves of both the parents and students. They will get a chance to peek into the school and classroom. They will learn about the staff that will be working with their child. I have seen a lot of teachers set up stations in their classrooms. This makes it easy for parents to move through and fill out information/ do supply drop.
Curriculum night can look a tad bit more formal than a general open house night. Curriculum night is an educational open house by grade. Curriculum night takes place at the beginning of the school year for parents to receive critical information that will benefit their child’s learning throughout the year. Teachers and staff may take turns speaking on their roles in the school.
If you are given a spot to speak during curriculum night, use the chance to talk about something that will benefit ALL students. This is really important as you are setting the tone that speech and language skills aren’t only something that students with IEPs need to work on. I’ve discussed literacy using books many times during curriculum night.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SPEECH THERAPISTS TO BE PREPARED FOR BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHTS:
BE AVAILABLE TO MEET WITH PARENTS
- Let teachers know that you are available & feel free to direct parents to your room.
- Make a sign pointing to your room if it’s hidden in a tricky spot.
- Email parents of students on your caseload to let them know where to find you so you can meet.
- Leave a note with classroom teachers to put on student’s desks so they can come find you if they want during open house.
- Have parent handouts available! (We will cover this below also!)
- It doesn’t hurt to have a bowl of candy on your table to reward any parents that take the time to find your room!
HAVE SPEECH & LANGUAGE HANDOUTS AVAILABLE
You guys know that I am the handout QUEEN. I pass them out like candy! When I worked in the school setting, I always liked to give parents this handout, What is an SLP? (Grab it-it’s FREE!) This gives a general overview of our role as an SLP. (You might be surprised but a lot of parents have zero clue what we do).
More Speech & Language Handouts for Back to School:
- Print & Go Articulation and Phonology home packets
- Preschool SLP Evaluation Forms-These forms I use particularly for Initial IEP Meetings as a handout to parents. These parent friendly documents can also be used to complete speech and language assessments for preschoolers.
BE READY TO ANSWER ANY COMMON QUESTIONS PARENTS MIGHT HAVE FOR SLPs:
- How do you decide when to pull a student?
- How will you measure progress?
- Will you send homework?
- How often do you see my child?
- Do you follow a curriculum?
- When is my child’s IEP?
- What are your child’s IEP goals?
CHECK OUT THIS GREAT ARTICLE FROM ASHA ON BACK TO SCHOOL TIME FOR SLPs!
ARE YOU PREPARED FOR OPEN HOUSE AS AN SLP?
Whether parents choose to find you or not during your back to school night, that’s okay. Be as prepared and as proactive as possible and you will feel success on this night!
What other ways do you prepare for curriculum night, meet the teacher or open house as an SLP?
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