Social media can be a powerful tool that connects parents and teachers. When used correctly, it can enhance relationships, deepen engagement and support the educational experience of preschoolers.
However, some educators are nervous about implementing social media policies and aren't sure of the best ways to use the platforms. Don't let apprehension result in a missed opportunity. If you keep communication professional while focused on the school and classroom subjects, you're taking the essential first steps to success.
Follow these tips to guide you toward effective social media use at your preschool center:
Customize channels: Determine what makes sense for the school and teachers. Maybe you want to create a school-wide Facebook page that the director uses for updates, but use classroom-specific Twitter feeds that teachers can utilize to provide curriculum updates. Brainstorm with the staff first to get feedback before making any decisions. You want everyone on board!
Set guidelines and offer training: Before implementation, determine guidelines for post frequency and content so that everyone is on the same page. Then offer training for teachers who may not be savvy in using social media. You want to give them the confidence to use the platforms in an effective manner. You may even want to create a task force to lead the way.
Important reminders: Many teachers use social media to remind parents of important events such as an upcoming Picture Day. It's a wonderful way to underscore messaging in newsletters and backpack reminders. For example, with Lifetouch Preschool Portraits it's easy to customize messages using the Picture Day Reminder Tool to post on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or Pinterest page.
Integrate social media into the classroom: Teachers can find many opportunities to use social media to enhance their curriculum. Look at images of global destinations from Instagram. Visit Facebook pages to connect with authors of books you're reading. Explore Pinterest to decide on different class projects. The opportunities are endless!
Art and expression: Preschoolers love to create crafts and complete art projects. Some teachers choose to create private Instagram accounts that connect specifically with the parents based on each classroom and/or school year. You can also create private Pinterest boards that can only be accessed by invitation. Then teachers post pictures of kids creating crafts and having a blast, as well as their completed masterpieces.
Facebook events: Gauging interest in school events can be difficult, but Facebook has an easy-to-use feature that helps schools to communicate different activities. You can create events to promote and invite families to open houses, holiday concerts, themed weeks and other celebrations. People can then respond whether they are interested, attending or can't come.
Finally, remember that for social media to work, you need to post regularly and make it a valuable resource for parents. You should also strive for engagement. Two-way conversation is better than one-way. If a parent posts asking a question or providing a comment, respond promptly! It helps build relationships and ultimately benefits the students and school as a whole.
Want to start using social media at your preschool? These social media tips will show how you can build school spirit, connect with parents and enhance the educational process.