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    pre school home visits (long)
    By ch

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    I do home visits as a regular part of our school year, visiting each home 3 or 4 times a year. At first I am nervous, but with each visit it becomes easier & easier.
    What if you gave each family a form to fill out with questions like: What family information would help me to understand your child this year? What are your hopes/dreams/goals for your child...now? This school year? In the future? What does your child need to help him/her succeed in school this year? All children have gifts. What are your childs? Is there anything you can tell me about your child that you feel may help me be a better teacher for your child? Does your child have siblings or frinds in this school? Who are they & in what classrooms? How does your child learn best: when you show him, when you tell him ort when he tries to do it on his own? What kind of toys does your child like to play with? What are your childs interests? How are your child's self-help skills? (dressing, bathroom, eating, etc?) Does your child enjoy story books? Being read to? looking at books on his/her own?
    You can fancy the form up with graphics and stuff, like placing each question into an appropriate "shape" like a book, a piece of notebook paper, a schoolhouse, etc. and leaving space for parents to write. Then it won't seem so "dry" because it's cutesy. You can make each into a seperate page, or half page, etc. You can include questions about parents helpoing in the classroom or the school in general (like the PTO, etc.) Perhaps have parents update it over the year? In anycase, you can give it back to them at the end of the school year as a momento.
    You can mail it to each family before your visit, so they can give it to you when you come. Or you can give it to them at your visit & collect them at the start of school.
    A word of caution, however. I don't know what kind of community you'll be teaching in (affluent suburbs, inner city, etc.) but always be aware of your surroundings while on home visits. If for some reason you feel unusually uncomfortable in the home, make the visit short & leave. I don't mean to scare you, but it's something you may not have thought about. One of my fellow teachers had an inebriated man walking around in his underwear during a home visit, which she cut very short very quickly! In another district I was in we had many families that lived in subsidized housing. While they may be very friendly & outgoing, their neighbors may not be (we always went in pairs for safety).
    Dress comfortably, so that you'll be comfortable & the families you visit will be comfortable. Be prepared to be offered something to eat/drink at each home. You may wish to take along a simple age appropraite game to play with your future students (& siblings).
    Home visits are a great way to introduce yourself to the family & your future students; it helps take some of the fear of the unknown away from both sides. You have an opportunity to get to know a little bit about your students & what to expect.
    Good Luck!


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