As catechists, we want to partner with parents as closely as possible on their child’s faith formation journey, but we are often frustrated with the lack of interaction we have with the parents of those we teach. Recently, I received the following question from a catechist named Susanne:
“Any tried and true ways to get information to and from parents of third graders? I find paper notes left behind in class, folders never coming back from parents, textbooks “forgotten” at home….I need some solid advice for next year’s class. Thank you!”
Let’s help Susanne (and one another) out! Permit me to offer some suggestions, and then I’d like to hear from you!
- Consider creating a cover page that gets stapled to anything that goes home to the parents, requiring them to sign and return to verify that they have indeed received and reviewed the communication. I did this several times with fourth graders and sixth graders and, by checking on a weekly basis as the first thing we did, eventually had about 80% cooperation from parents.
- Instead of sending textbooks home, tear out specific pages to send home with the above-mentioned cover page for parents to sign and return.
- Talk to your catechetical leader about establishing a new policy that requires parents to enter the building and go to their child’s classroom at dismissal time. This gives you, the catechist, some time to connect personally with parents.
- Arrange an e-mail system or policy through your catechetical leader that permits you to send occasional messages to parents summarizing what their children have learned and including important communications for the parents. Ask for replies and for them to confirm receipt of your e-mails.
- Arrange to do the above, but use text messages instead of e-mails. Again, check with your catechetical leader to make sure you are following parish/diocesan policy.
What other suggestions do you have for improving communication with parents of those you teach?
Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts e-newsletters are a great way to inspire parents in their role as leaders of the domestic church and in their own deepening spirituality.