Whether it’s called Curriculum Night, Open House or Back to School Night, it all boils down to the same idea: Your chance to find out how your child will spend six hours of his day. You'll meet the teacher, hear about curriculum and get the nitty-gritty on the teacher’s expectations for things such as homework, snacks and unexcused absences.
I’ve sat on both sides of the desk, as a parent and as a primary school teacher. Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of your school's Open House:
Go early. Parking can be a problem and finding the classroom can gobble up time. This is somewhat of a social event and you’ll want time to chat with other parents.
Teachers get nervous, too! This is not their favorite night of the year. Their classrooms are on display. Every word they say, what they wear and their body language are being critiqued. So, make it a positive experience for everyone. Despite your impressions of the teacher, enter the classroom with a smile on your face and leave with a thank you on your lips.
Don't ditch the handouts. The curriculum handouts are meant for you to take home and refer to throughout the year.
Leave a note. Look inside your child’s desk, and leave him a friendly note—even if he can’t read. The teacher will read it to him the next day. Keep in mind that your child has likely spent the better part of that afternoon sprucing up the classroom and cleaning his desk.
Leave when it’s over. There are always a handful of parents who linger, wanting to know how their child is doing. This is not the time for that. If there’s something you need to discuss, arrange a conference.
The most important thing about Open House is to go. You won’t have this chance again until next year.