Parents were treated to dinner and valuable information, and kids to dinner and entertainment, for an evening last month during Rainsboro Elementary’s Parents’ Night Out.
It’s a night for parents to come to Rainsboro Elementary and have an informative evening relating to educational topics. It’s something that the school administration has done for at least the last several years, according to Greenfield Exempted Village School District Superintendent Quincey Gray, and something that was done prior to her six-year stint as principal at Rainsboro.
This year the topic was about providing parents with listening skills to teach their children and also practice at home, Rainsboro Principal Maggie Lyons said. Managing technology was also discussed and dealt with the appropriate use of technology and how to incorporate it into a schedule at home. With that in mind, parents got to make a Make-It-Take-It of a schedule board they could use at home to record points earned by their children for chores or good deeds, through which the children could earn technology time.
According to kindergarten teacher Christy Wagner, who presented the evening’s topics, one of the strategies discussed with listening skills was being consistent. “For example if we give a warning as parents and the child doesn’t follow through, we need to follow through on that warning,” Wagner said.
Another strategy was making sure to have the child’s attention before giving directions. “Often kids and adults can’t really hear and understand what is being said to them if they are distracted by another activity. Making sure you have eye contact … can help,” she said.
On technology, Wagner said she talked about setting limits on the amount of technology used on a daily basis and how timers can help children and parents stay on track with that time limit. She also talked about choosing quality apps or programs for children to watch.
“When we participate in technology time with our children, we can help them learn vocabulary, talk about how characters or people solved problems … which can help the technology time be more beneficial,” Wagner said.
She said parents participated in an anonymous survey where they answered questions about their child’s listening and technology issues at home. Their answers allowed Wagner to gauge what parents needed to learn about throughout the presentation.
“I think Parents’ Night Out is a fun event,” Wagner said. “The parents and I often share a few laughs, and I think they feel better hearing that parenting is hard, but there are things we can do to try and make it a bit easier on our children and ourselves.
“Really, we just want to support parents on their journey. I enjoy seeing the parents making connections and trying new things to find what will work best for their family.”
The parents were treated to dinner and babysitting was provided for the children, Lyons said. The children were also provided a meal and entertainment. Parents were given door prizes of books to take home for their children, and four parents were selected from a drawing for $25 Marathon gift cards.
Lyons said that according to a parent survey given before the end of the evening, parents appreciated the topic and helpful ideas to use at home with their children. Parents were also able to give their own ideas for future events.
Past parent/family events have included family book reads where, when everyone finished the book provided to each family, families got to view the film relating to the book at the school; a family math night for third through fifth grade; events with dinner, babysitting, learning sessions, a craft, and gift card giveaways; and one year staff put packets together with many different kinds of materials that students could use for practice over the summer.
The events are planned each year by the Building Leadership Team, and are funded by federal Title I Family Engagement Funds.
According to Gray, events like the most recent one involving teaching parents skills to use at home are held earlier in the school year as it is more beneficial to families to have most of the school year to employ with their children the strategies they learned at the event.
“It was great to interact with our parents and provide them with real life strategies to help in the home,” Lyons said. “That home/school relationship is huge to the success of the student.”
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the Greenfield School District.