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Tool: My child as a learner (elementary example)

Surveys can become important tools for fostering two-way communication. They offer:

  • An efficient way for parents to tell you about their home and child;
  • A signal to families that you are interested in learning about them;
  • A way to learn more about each family’s goals, values and perceptions of their children as learners;
  • A means to help you think about designing curriculum and instruction for this group of students during this school year.

These surveys also can be translated into other languages for non-English speaking families. Notice that the following example is short and has just enough space to get ideas from parents without communicating that they need to spend a great deal of time filling it out. It can be adapted to fit your situation.

Making connections: My child as a learner

Dear Families,

Many people say that parents are their children’s first and best teacher, and I certainly agree! Please take a few minutes to look over the questions below. Then provide any information that you think would help me figure out how to best support your child in the classroom and how to connect our classroom learning with your child's learning at home.

Thanks for helping me learn about your child. I look forward to working with you and your family this year.

[your name]


Child's Name __________________________         Date: _______________

Parent/Guardian name(s) _____________________________________________

How do you think your child feels about going to school?

What are your goals for your child this year?

What are your child's interests? How does s/he spend free time at home?

What types of activities does your family do together?

Do you have time to read with your child? If so, when and how often?

What types of books does your child enjoy? Does s/he have any favorites?

What types of writing does your child do at home?

Does your child do things at home that involve math, science or social studies? If so, what are some examples?

What can you tell me about how your child learns?

What are some other things you would like me to know about your child?

What kinds of information would be helpful for you to support your child's learning at home?

Would you like me to call you or meet with you to talk more about these ideas? If so, when is a good time?

Adapted from Hill, B. C., & Ruptic, C. (1994). Practical aspects of authentic assessment: Putting the pieces together, pp. 206-7. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon.
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