What to expect in Parent Interactions?
Parent interactions for nursery admissions can be an uneasy affair for first timers. Anxiety level is high, nervousness at its peak, and confidence becomes shaky because you are unsure of the outcome which heavily depends on a discussion you have never had before. Hopes are pinned on those ten minutes when you are less worried about the interaction, and more about your 4-year-old’s mood.
Some schools in NCR are about to undergo interactions this season. The pre-selection process is usually simple and varies from school to school, but a lot can depend on the parent interaction. It isn’t (and shouldn’t) be just about the child’s conduct and behaviour. The candidature is assessed based on the parent’s outlook and orientation towards the school’s ideology and vision.
Preparedness is the key
Collect as much information as possible from parents who’ve had interactions before you and also consult with your preschool, if your child goes to one. Some preschools even take counselling sessions for parents to help prepare for the interactions. You should assess the teaching methodologies of the school by checking their website or interacting with existing parents enrolled with the school.
Just like in any interview, you should expect the first question in your interaction to be an introduction about you, the parent. This question is usually undermined, because we tend to believe that we know ourselves fully well, and confident of impressing the assessor. However, we forget about the time pressure, the assessor’s attention, your child’s mood, your own emotional state and the distraction from surroundings, which may prevent you from responding at your best.
Therefore, if both parents are planning to appear, it is recommended that they prepare their introduction well. It is also important to keep in mind that you are being assessed as a parent, therefore your introduction should not be as a professional seeking job. Your thoughts should circle around schooling, education and raising children.
Synergy in thoughts
If both parents will appear for the interaction, take a few hours from your busy schedule to discuss the possible questions you may be asked, so that you give a collective response. School administrators would prefer parents with coherent thoughts, which goes a long way in shaping a child’s attitude towards learning.
Following are some questions, which can help you prepare for the day.
- Why would you choose our school?
You can state things which you have heard from existing parents enrolled with the school or your thoughts about the school’s ideology & curriculum.
- How can you contribute to our school?
Don’t misjudge this question, good schools may be looking forward to volunteer parents who can contribute their time towards school activities or offer consultation.
- What are your thoughts about disciplining children?
You can try answering that with a short example. Disciplined children help teachers manage the class well for a better learning outcome.
- Do you spend time with your child? OR How do you spend time with your child?
You can state the activities that you do together with your child, be it garden play or bed time stories.
- If you are working parents, how would both the parents ensure that the child gets adequate time?
You need to focus on quality over quantity, so try to be specific about things from your daily routines which you and your child enjoys daily, say, little chats to bed time stories.
- What do you do to make your child independent?
State an example to make your point. Parents encourage children to do daily activities on own. Few parents start by letting their children make their own choices, such as choosing the clothes to wear during the day.
- Does your child go to a preschool? What are your thoughts about early schooling?
This question gives you the opportunity to highlight the learnings & good habits that your child has received from the preschool.
- What are your priorities while seeking admissions?
- What for you is successful parenting?
- How has been a school’s contribution in your life?
- Do you inculcate sharing and caring values in your child?
Fear of a Working Mother
Working mothers may sometimes face a different set of questions and it is important to understand that your professional engagement alone will not impact your candidature. You can specify that even if you are not around then there are people around (Grandparents or Daycare) to take good care of your child. If you have flexible timings at work place, then this would be the best time to bring it up. Some of the questions that may come up are:
- What are your work timings?
- Who takes care of the child in your absence?
- Does your child go to a daycare?
- How will you help your child in completing the homework?
- What do you think about homework?
A Well-Informed Child
Children are curious by nature and express their curiosity in different ways. An enthusiastic child might ask dozens of questions while others may just observe and sit quietly. You can never be sure how a child would conduct self with a new person. Provide as much information as you can to your child beforehand as this will make the child comfortable in the whole process.
Here are some things to consider.
- Keep an upbeat mood before the interaction, children sense your anxiety very quickly.
- Children learn from your behaviour, formally greet when you meet others so that your child notices and imbibes that behaviour.
- Talk to your child about similar experiences through story telling.
- If possible take your child on a tour to the new school so that she is familiar with the surroundings.
- Try some activities with your child so that she remains seated during the entire course of the interview. Jumping or standing on the chair can be perceived as lack of discipline.
Lastly, there should be absolutely no pressure on the child. Even if the interaction did not turn out well, so be it, there is always next time. The experience will help you be well prepared for the next one.