Curriculum night is our chance as SLPs to connect with parents, showcase the amazing work that we do and let them peek into the world of speech and language therapy. In this post, I’ll be sharing five essential tips to help you ace your Curriculum Night presentation. Let’s dive right in!
What is a Curriculum Night?
For those who might not be familiar, a curriculum night is a special evening where parents step into their child’s learning environment, meet the teachers and get a sneak peek of the upcoming year’s curriculum. It’s an important event for parents to feel involved and informed about their child’s education. And for us SLPs, it’s an opportunity to show how vital our role is in the education process.
In my previous district, the special education preschool program would break into different groups and parents were able to sign up for whichever topics were of interest them (communication, play, behavior, sensory, home routines, fine motor, etc. )
It ended up always being a really successful night of communicating and collaborating with families!
How to Choose a Topic for a Curriculum Night as an SLP
Now, let’s talk about picking the perfect topic for your presentation. This is where it all begins – engaging your audience and making sure they leave with a clear understanding of what you do.
Think about what would intrigue parents the most or what might address any concerns they have about their child’s speech and language development. Whether it’s focusing on communication milestones, offering effective home practice strategies, or giving insights into your therapeutic approach, the right topic can truly make a difference.
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Parent hot topics
- District goals
- Your caseload’s most common goals
Topics that I have presented about during curriculum night include:
- Speech Sound Cueing: This simply means teaching parents the cues to help their child. Try using these Preschool Evaluation Forms about Play Based Assessments.
- Levels of Play and how to help your child move from one to another. This is an important topic FOR many children. Check out this blog post for more detailed information about increasing Levels of Play.
- Literacy based speech: How to target expressive language, receptive language and articulation using a book.
Solve REAL Problems Parents Have in Your Curriculum Night Presentation
My number one tip would be to make your topic actually HELP parents and address their real concerns. It’s not just about showcasing what we do, but about understanding and alleviating the very real challenges parents may be facing.
By addressing their specific worries and providing practical solutions, we demonstrate the tangible impact of speech-language therapy on their child’s development. This builds trust and fosters a collaborative relationship between parents and the therapy team, ultimately leading to more effective support for the student.
Remember, our role isn’t just about the technicalities of therapy; it’s about being a resource and a partner in the journey of each child’s education. They want to leave your presentation feeling as though they have some action steps they can take home and actually implement with their child.
Make the Curriculum Night Presentation in Parent Friendly Language
(For those that are now lost…that means ‘how are you?’ in Spanish)
There is nothing more frustrating than sitting in a presentation feeling completely lost and overwhelmed because you aren’t fully sure what the presenter is talking about.
In special education, this is easy to do because we have so many different abbreviations in our world. Something I try to remember is to explain things to parents as if I was explaining it to a fifth grader. This might sound silly but you have to always assume that they may know NOTHING about the speech and language world. They could be brand new to it, have never researched or are just overwhelmed and expect you to guide them as the professional.
Don’t try using fancy language, get rid of the abbreviations and keep it SIMPLE. Trust me, they will appreciate it!
Have a Make and Take if Possible for Parents
Consider incorporating an interactive “Make and Take” activity into your Curriculum Night presentation. This hands-on approach not only engages parents in a tangible way but also provides them with practical tools they can use to support their child’s speech and language development at home.
Whether it’s creating simple communication boards, crafting sensory-friendly resources or putting together personalized practice materials, this activity empowers parents to actively participate in their child’s progress.
It’s a memorable and effective way to reinforce the importance of their role in the therapeutic process and leaves them with valuable resources they can use long after the event.
Give Parent Handouts so they Can Remember the Discussion
Equipping parents with informative handouts is a simple yet powerful way to ensure they leave Curriculum Night with a tangible reminder of the discussion. These handouts can serve as a reference guide, offering a summary of key points, strategies and resources discussed during the presentation.
Include relevant tips for supporting speech and language development at home, recommended reading materials as well as your contact information for any further questions or concerns they may have. By providing this resource, you’re not only demonstrating your commitment to their child’s progress but also giving them a valuable tool to refer back to in the days and weeks ahead.
Check out TONS of parent handouts available in my store right HERE.
What other questions do you have about conducting a curriculum night?
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