At St. Michael’s Episcopal Day School, we do a home visit for every new child who enrolls in our school.
Why do we home visit every new child to the school?
For parents and children, a home visit gives them the opportunity to meet the teacher/s in a safe environment, where they feel confident and at ease. Children can find a new school frightening. A home visit enables a first meeting between child and teacher in an environment that is safe, and where the child feels in control. Once the child has started school, teachers can mention a particular aspect of the visit as a starting point for conversation. This may help children feel that adults know a little about them. For children, a visit carried out by ‘their’ teacher shows that they are important, and means that some faces will be familiar when they start school. This is the beginning of developing trust between the child and the teachers.
For teachers and teacher aides, a visit provides the opportunity to:
- establish early, positive contact
- see children in their own familiar settings
- meet other family members, people and pets who are important to the children
- understand the problems that children might encounter at school, and also to appreciate the wealth of learning that goes on in the home.
This all helps to get a fuller picture of the children. Professionals can gain much from observing a child where he or she feels settled and in control.
What parents should know before a home visit.
It is important that parents understand the purpose of a home visit. Children readily pick up on their parents’ feelings; if a parent is in doubt about the visit, the child will follow.
Parents will be told:
- when we will arrive
- how long we will stay (about 20 minutes)
- the names of those who will be visiting
- what will happen (we are there to learn about this precious child)
- what information we will bring
What might take place during a home visit.
We may bring a selection of toys from the school when we visit. This enables your child to choose whether to play with either familiar or unfamiliar toys. Or, you might have your child gather things in a box that he/she either wants to share or that tell us about him/herself. The visit allows us the opportunity to observe your child at play in a familiar environment. By playing with your child, we can find out what your child can do, and his/her interests, fears, strengths, and weaknesses. This is not a test – it is for the benefit of both the school and the family.