From 'Labeling' to 'Enabling' the child and their family
Try the empathy lens:
There might be times when you may notice a pattern of unusual behavior with a child. For example, she may be very quiet in the classroom, or always losing her temper, while interacting with the peers.
In such a scenario, try visiting the child’s home: exploring the space and interacting with the parents and family members you meet. You might be surprised by what you find!
Often, the only venue for the teacher’s interactions with the child and parents is the school, because of which the teacher may not understand the child’s complete story.
Watch Kiran share the incident which sparked the design of the Home Visits process.
We found, that at times, our understanding of the child's story was incomplete since we were unaware of how the child's family and background were shaping his or her story.
We realized that we were doing a disservice to the child and their parents because:
- Conversations with parents became formal and structured, and they were not comfortable sharing from the heart. Despite all efforts to the contrary, some interactions with parents felt more like ‘us and them’.
- Sometimes, when we were unable to reach out to the child, we were quick to make assumptions and label the child and their family.
- At times, it seemed like all strategies to help the child were inadequate as we did not know the 'real' issue troubling the child.
there was a simple way to enable the child and family, rather than label them?
A simple process that allowed us to intentionally make time to understand the family dynamics and therefore the ecosystem of the child.
We discovered that a well-planned home visit was a wonderful way to start the year’s journey with empathy. We saw that this process brought a shift in our relationship with the child and the parent as they became more familiar and comfortable with the teachers.
Parents felt secure that their child was in safe hands, and children started opening up because of this trust that had been forged.
Home Visits thus enabled us to understand the complete story of the child. Subsequently, this helped us in becoming more mindful teachers and more capable companions in their journey!
Here is What we Do
This video helps make visible the process of the Home Visit from ‘intention’ to ‘action’.
In this video you will understand the Pre-work required for a successful Home Visit, as well as see what a home visit looks like in action. You will also get a glimpse into teacher team reflection after the visit, and hear parent feedback on the impact of the process.
Don’t miss her story of how she convinced her husband to allow her to work long hours for conducting home visits!
Meet the Stakeholders:
Eduhero Archana Todi has been conducting Home Visits at The Riverside School since 2005. Archana is a school leader for Key stage 1 (Pre-k to Grade 2) at Riverside and a caring and sensitive practitioner for the young ones. Along with being super talented, she is loved by her team for being a great mentor!
Watch how Archana ensures that the Home Visits process is smoothly planned and executed.
Watch Archana share some anecdotes and insights on how the Home Visits process has impacted her practice.
Tips for the Leader
- Be an exemplar by going for some Home Visits yourself – for instance, you could accompany a teacher who is feeling nervous or apprehensive of going to a ‘difficult’ parent’s house.
- If your teachers cannot accommodate Home Visits for all your students, we strongly recommend at least visiting homes of children in the entry grade and new students across all grades.
- Also, this process is extremely beneficial for children with behaviours you notice as unusual or concerning, or those with special needs.
Share with us your experience of how you have used this process in your context, any challenges you might have faced or just inspire us with your story :-)
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