Last school year, teachers from 21 schools visited with 562 kindergarten families in their homes during the first few weeks of school. Officially called Kindergarten Teacher Home Visits, these meetings have become a valuable tool for kindergarten teachers to build trust with families, understand kids’ specific needs and make learning more meaningful and relevant.
This fall, teachers are kicking off another season of home visits to help children and their families transition into the school year. Early Learning Multnomah is funding home visits again this school year, compensating participating teachers across five school districts for the time they invest meeting with families in their homes.
Teachers usually spend about thirty minutes with each family in the family’s home. They talk with parents about their hopes and dreams for their child, interact with the child and get to know them in a more comfortable environment. The meetings are a proven way to kick start parent engagement and boost student attendance.
Here's what parents and teachers have to say about home visits:
"The most important thing is the sense of safety that it gives to the kids and the parents. For some people, 30 minutes at home doesn’t mean much. But for some families and for children, it can change their life." – Rigler Elementary parent
"The kids cry less. With the home visits before school starts, they’re like, “Hi! You went to my house!” It helps a lot and makes the first day way easier. When you do visits at the beginning of the year, and you have kids that come in January, you see the difference between them and the kids you know from the visits." – Rigler Elementary teacher
"Home visits shift the power. It gives that to the families and honors their experience as the first educator." – Woodlawn Elementary teacher