Fall is a busy time of year for parents, but attending curriculum night is something that is exponentially worthwhile: there is much to learn at this open forum, which is why educators encourage all parents to go. Yes, even if your child’s older sibling had the same teacher!
Curriculum Night and COVID-19
This year, with COVID-19 and virtual learning, curriculum night will look different. It’ll likely be a live online session with your child’s teacher, who may take you on a virtual tour of the classroom. You probably won’t be able to interact with other parents. However, it is a good chance to learn about what pandemic-time classroom learning looks like for your child, get a sense of the social distancing in place in the classroom, and ask your questions.
So, what is curriculum night?
Often confused with parent-teacher interviews (though they, too, are on the horizon), curriculum night is an educational open house hosted at your child’s school. It takes place across all levels, including elementary and high schools, public and private schools alike.
At curriculum night, you should expect:
- teacher presentations on curriculum
- teachers providing an outline for routines and expectations—a great help in getting students prepared for a successful school year
- time to meet and talk briefly with your child’s teacher and establish a good working relationship from the get-go
- details about the COVID-19 health and safety precautions being followed in the classroom and throughout the school
Although the date varies by school, this orientation night typically takes place in the first month of school.
Why should I go to curriculum night?
1. Meet your child’s teacher and school administration.
Take this opportunity to be proactive and meet the teacher and school team in advance of Parent-Teacher Interview Night and progress report time.
2. Meet other parents and participate in Q&As.
Use the occasion to meet (or at least see!) the parents of your child’s peers and participate in a group question and answer period. Sometimes parents learn the most from the questions asked by others.
3. See firsthand what students will be learning.
Get a glimpse of the timetable, routine and curriculum breakdown of what will be covered throughout the year. This will also include highlights, field trips, and other topics students will look forward to.
4. Understand homework expectations and evaluation practices.
Learn about homework and organizational expectations, as well as what students need to bring to school to be successful.
5. Get familiar with your child’s learning environment.
In a typical year, presentations tend to be in the classroom that your child will learn in throughout the year and parents get an opportunity to sit in their child’s seat—literally. For 2020, this obviously does not apply at all if you’ve opted for virtual learning. For kids attending school in-person, the teacher will likely give you a virtual tour of the classroom, illustrating how physical distancing is being handled in this pandemic year.
6. Learn about the teacher’s communication strategy.
By meeting the teacher firsthand you will get a sense of their teaching style as well as their communication strategy. Teachers will explain how they plan to interact with students and parents throughout the year, whether by letters, emails, agendas, or apps. It’s also an opportunity to give your e-mail to the teacher if there is a class list.
7. Be informed on policies and rules.
Use this time to get information on school safety routines, pick-up and drop off expectations, and—for virtual learners—anything particular to the online platform that you need to know.
8. Find out how to get involved and volunteer.
If you’re interested in volunteering, use this evening as a chance to learn how to become involved in your child’s school.
9. Learn about contingency plans.
If you’re doing in-person learning this year, you’ll need to know what happens if the class or school is suddenly closed and moves to an online platform. Now is a good time to ask questions about that transition and what is expected of you and your child should it happen.
10. Send your child a message that you care.
This may be the most important reason to attend: You’ll show your child that you are interested in their experiences as a student and in what they are learning!