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We view parents as partners in the learning process and vital to the life of our school. Because parents and guardians deeply impact their child’s orientation towards life, it is essential for us as educators to maintain an ongoing dialogue with families. Children benefit immensely from a continuity of experiences between home and school. Thus, we strive to incorporate each parent into the life of the school in some capacity.
Patchwork has been there for myself as much as my child, I look forward to drops off and seeing all my “friends” as well as seeing my child run off to enjoy her friends.Parent
Part of our role as educators is to be a resource for our families. By offering an extensive resource library within our school and on our Resources page, we hope to share with you a few of the ideas that have shaped our approach to learning and to life. In addition, we offer numerous gatherings throughout the year to discuss parenting strategies, educational philosophy, and specific questions. We are also available for conferencing with parents and we also try to connect groups of parents with each other for more informal support.
Getting to Know Us
It is important for parents and children to feel certain that Patchwork is the place they want to be. We offer numerous ways for you to learn about the school’s philosophy, meet the teachers and directors, and get comfortable with the environment. This allows you to feel confident that you have made the right choice for your family, and ensures that you feel ready to place your trust in us.
- Attend one of our Informational Tours, which are scheduled throughout the year. This is your opportunity to find out more about the school’s philosophy and environment, as well as your chance to place your child on the waitlist or enroll. This includes a presentation, tour and Q & A with the directors.
- Ask for our list of parent references, so you can speak firsthand with parents whose children attend Patchwork.
- Check out books from the Resource Library on topics such as Social/Emotional Well-being, parenting, homeschooling, education and more.
- Check out the Philosophy & other pages to learn more about our educational approach, and the Teachers & Staff page to find out more about who we are.
- Ask about a participatory visit to spend some time in the space.
Parent Support & Education
Because we understand how challenging it is to be a parent in today’s world, with so little support for families, we have created multiple ways for you to get and give more support:
- We offer a various parent workshops and events that give you information about the various social/emotional tools utilized by the teachers so that you can employ them at home should you choose too. These are also sometimes available to families not currently enrolled at Patchwork.
- We have a community Face Book to help you arrange babysitting co-ops, playdates, or just ask the community a question.
- We have many events designed to meet the needs of the whole family, such as our spring workdays which usually get everyone knee-deep in sand and dirt.
These are just some of the ways that you might be able to get involved with the school, but we are always interested in hearing your suggestions, too:
- Try to attend as many Parent Teacher meetings and events as possible. These are regular times for parents and staff to get together to discuss topics relevant to your child.
- Sign up to do an offering at school – this can be any kind of activity that you would like to offer up for the day. It can relate to a current thread, it can be something you are an expert in, it can be a hobby of yours, or it can just be a fun project. Talk to us about your ideas!
- Volunteer to make a special snack, read books with the children, play music, or something else that inspires you.
- Read the newsletters and talk with your child about the pictures. We will send you links to many pictures each week to help you feel connected to your child’s experience.
- Volunteer to help with administrative projects, field trips, fundraisers, family events and more.
- Apply to be on the Board of Directors – we require that our board always consist of a mix of parents, staff and community members to ensure that the school’s vision is guided by its participants.
- Join us as we attend various local, national, and international conferences (e.g. AERO, IDEC).
- Ask your child if they would like for you to join them for lunch one day.
Helping With Transitions
We encourage parents to work with their child to create a transition plan that allows everyone to feel comfortable. Some things to keep in mind are:
- We encourage you to choose a consistent routine that allows you and your child to know what to expect at drop-off time. For most children, the anxiety around saying good-bye is much harder to deal with than the actual separation.
- Some children prefer a short drop-off routine with just a quick kiss or hug, some are happy to just run right in and don’t need a big goodbye scene, some like to settle in with a book or another activity and need to be engaged before you leave, and some feel best if they connect with a teacher first. We suggest choosing one idea to start with, but then being open to the routine evolving as needed, or changing slightly as the day requires.
- We provide a 30 minute drop-off “window” to give you plenty of time to say goodbye. At the beginning, we generally do not recommend that parents stay at school with their children for an extended period of time, unless special arrangements have been made with a program director for a participatory visit.
- In our experience, it is extremely rare for a child not to be able to find a transition routine that works for them. If for some reason you are concerned about this possibility, we encourage you to talk to us about whether this is the right time for your child to start.
- You should expect that there will be days that they are not feeling as excited about going to school – this is normal, just as we adults don’t feel excited about going to work every day. As a community, we all learn from the experience of supporting one another even on more difficult days.
The Child’s Role
We view each child as a vital part of our community, with a profound ability to contribute ideas, to self-regulate, and to be uniquely themselves. Because we hold these expectations of the children who attend Patchwork, we have intentionally created a structure to support, and scaffold, such abilities. Elements of our structure that are important for parents to understand include:
- Creating a space in which children can explore and develop their personhood, in a community comprised of peers and teachers.
- Respecting the readiness of each child, whether it is in regard to their enrollment in school, their interest and willingness to engage in activities, or their social-emotional development.
- Creating opportunities for children to have their voices heard, in daily morning meetings, weekly democratic meetings and in conflict resolution meetings. By practicing being heard, and listening, we build the foundation for democratic engagement with the world.
- Expecting that each child is committing to the community and recognizing that they will experience ups or downs. Being a part of a community means showing up the next day and trying again.
- Just as children need loving, supportive families, we also understand that children need space to allow them opportunities to explore their independence, create their own identity and solve problems on their own. To this end, we support families in creating a positive drop-off experience (see above).
- Knowing that there are times where we will have to set limits that a child may not like. In these cases we find clear and respectful ways to define these limits, without using manipulation. We believe it is developmentally appropriate for children to be given clear boundaries, because having too much control when you’re not ready for it can be scary. Your child will need you to be able to listen to what was hard for them and work as a team with the teachers to help resolve any issues.