Parent Teacher Home Visits connect the expertise of the family on their child with the classroom expertise of the teachers. The visit is not a “drop-in,” but rather an appointment set between two willing colleagues in a setting outside of the school. The student’s home provides the most opportunity for learning and sharing, but teachers also may meet families at the library, a park or a coffee shop if needed.
The Core Practices (Our 5 Non-negotiables)
While the model is adapted in a wide variety of settings across the US, we all follow the following five non-negotiable core practices:
- Visits are always voluntary for educators and families, and arranged in advance.
- Teachers are trained, and compensated for visits outside their school day.
- Focus of the first visit is relationship-building; we discuss hopes and dreams.
- No targeting – visit all or a cross-section of students so there is no stigma.
- Educators conduct visits in pairs, and after the visit, reflect with their partner.
The model has three components:
1st Home Visit – Summer or Fall
Educators focus on getting to know the student and the family. The educators and the family members share their experiences, their hopes and dreams for their child, and their expectations of each other. The conversation naturally leads to the educator and the family identifying how they will help the child with their goals.
Now that there is an ongoing relationship,
- Family members and educators may share resources and continue their communication.
- Teachers may use what they learned from the family to improve the child’s experience in the classroom, and enjoy a stronger relationship with the child.
- Families may find new or additional ways to be involved with the school.
2nd Home Visit – Winter or Spring
Educators meet with the family again, with the focus on how to support their child academically. Sometimes schools offer Academic Parent Teacher Teams or other ways parents can get up to speed on grade-level standards and specific strategies to help their child learn.