preschool · slice of life · technology

The Case for Tweeting in Preschool

Tweet About Your Day - Raising a Literate HumanI used to be one of those kids. You know THOSE kids who didn’t give their parents a full answer when they asked “What did you do in school today?” Granted, I was more forthcoming than most of my peers probably were with their folks, but I distinctly remember filtering information from them in elementary school.  (By the time eighth grade came around, my mom was driving me 32 miles round-trip to school daily so I had no choice but to spill the beans about my day.)  I cannot recall why I didn’t tell my parents everything, but I just remember withholding information.

Isabelle’s personality is quite different than mine. This makes me wonder if she’ll tell me everything or nothing.  (Remember, I was in-between when it came to reporting things!)  If last week is any indication of what’s to come, I have a feeling she’ll tell me half-truths.

You see, last week I sent Isabelle to half-day day camp at the school where she’ll attend preschool.  It was my attempt to get her comfortable in her new school building.  (Sadly, she won’t be returning to the lovely Waldorf school we went to the past two years since the distance was too great for me to drive while writing a book.) While I was interested in knowing how she coped being in a new place and whether or not she initiated potty breaks (She did… whew!), I also wanted to know what she did.  Maybe it’s because she’s three or maybe it’s because of her Apraxia, but I couldn’t get a true sense of what was happening from her.  For instance, I asked her, “Did Jeannie read you a book today.”

“Yes,” she replied.

“That’s good.  Did you like it?”

“Yes,” she said.

“What was it about?”

“Beards,” she declared.

“Beards?” I asked. (I knew last week’s camp had a pirate theme, but I had a tough time believing the teacher read a book about beards to the kids.)

“Yes, beards,” she replied confidently.

“Hmmmm… do you remember the title, the author, or the illustrator’s name?” I queried.

“No,” she said.

The next morning I asked Jeannie, the teacher, “Did you read a book about beards yesterday?”

“No, I read Talk Like a Pirate.”

“Oh, I said.”  I pointed at Isabelle, “she said you read a book about beards.”

I recounted this to my husband who insisted that pirates do have beards, so that wasn’t too far off.  Fine, I’ll give Isabelle credit for this one, but I really didn’t know what she read, which meant I couldn’t engage in a conversation about the book with her.

Some of Isabelle's creations from her week at "pirate camp."
Some of Isabelle’s creations from her week at “pirate camp.”

The rest of the week went like this.  Isabelle would tell me something (e.g., I played with Robin.) and, if I was lucky, I would find out what really happened at some point (e.g., She played with a boy named Quinn.  There aren’t any kids named Robin in her camp group. Apparently Robin, “Wobuhn,” is easier to say than “Quinn.”).  This makes me think that I’m not going to have much of an idea about what’s happening in her classroom once preschool starts if the teacher doesn’t send home a weekly newsletter. (Please, please, pretty please let there be a newsletter.) And that’s when I got to thinking… wouldn’t it be great if her teacher tweeted snippets of the school day out to parents?  For instance, at the end of a lesson, she could tweet what they did.  She could tweet the kids’ discoveries.  She could tweet the kids’ drawings.  She could even tweet a couple of questions for parents to ask their preschoolers at the dinner table.

But then I came back down to Earth.  There is no way that I can walk into my daughter’s new school and demand that my daughter’s teacher tweets with the kids on day one.  For one thing, that would be like me telling her how to do her job.  Second, it would encourage what could turn into an unhealthy amount of technology exposure to the children.  And third, no teacher wants a fellow educator telling her to take on more work when she had a lot of other things on her plate.  Therefore, I will keep my mouth shut.  But if I ever see a suggestion box, then I think I might put this one in it since it would help me, as the parent of what is shaping up to be a partial reporter, to engage my child at home.


19 thoughts on “The Case for Tweeting in Preschool

  1. Love this Stacey… And really it would be a great idea for teachers in many grades help to bridge that parent/ student/ teacher/ school partnership. I’ve shared your post w a friend already!

  2. Love this on so many levels- as my former child self, I wasn’t a sharer; as a parent, and as a teacher. As a teacher, I think the tweeting would teach so much. Not only aiding in parent communication, but to teach students all about digital literacy. Thanks for making the case!

  3. Your entire post is exactly why I do tweet in my kindergarten classroom! The silver lining to my fear of entering the world of Twitter was realized when a father said to me how he was able to have more meaningful conversations when he had received tweets about his daughter’s day at school. She was thrilled to know that he already knew about her day. Siblings also be benefitted from our learning by wanting to try out new bits of our classroom learning. This comment coming from a father who probably wouldn’t even read the same type of news in a paper newsletter sent home confirmed for me how important it is we be willing to learn new ways as teachers. Loved your post!

  4. Sigh…I love your post and know that EVERY parent (teacher or not) share your angst about what really happens and what gets told about the day afterwards. I am not sure that Tweeting everything is what you (and all parents) need, but I do think a daily “note” about the highs, lows, and key learning experiences is a good idea in preschools. As kids make it to kindergarten, it can translate into a weekly newsletter. I DO think that in this world of email communication, a quick (form filled out) note at the end of the day would HELP conversations at home. How long could that take?

  5. Ah we are entering a new phase in child rearing with you and it’s just the beginning as Isabelle becomes her own person. Tweeting in Kindergarten… hmmm. I am so hooked on tech that I wonder what it might do to harm the in the moment living in school. Hmmm. I have to think about this. But I for sure did not tell my parents the WHOLE story 🙂

  6. Welcome to the world of sending kids to school! You will always struggle to know what is really going on and how to suggest things to teachers. I think tweets are a GREAT idea, especially in the lower grades and have seen some of our kindergarten teachers do them really well, but a lot of teachers still have no idea about the power of twitter.

    Love the post–especially the part about Robin. And, I bet there’s a lot about beards in Talk Like a Pirate…

  7. I think many children are reluctant sharers about their day…boys, especially. It would be great to have a way to know what went on in school without having to rely on a primary source ( the child). Who know what the future holds in this ever changing world of technology and education

  8. I just talked to Ingrid who is in a performance/drama camp for the next 2 weeks. She said she liked it, but wouldn’t say more. Her mom says she finds out more in the am or pm when dropping off or picking up. Yes, a daily tweet would be awesome!

  9. Stacey, I teach preschool and I wrestle with this very thing all school year! I write a daily note to families, which I post outside my classroom door – but, if a nanny or someone new picks up the child, well, that’s information that is never conveyed. The daily note is meant to give families a clue as to what their child experienced, so that they might ask better questions. Tweeting daily? hmmm. First, I’d have to learn how! 😉 Then, I’d have to get organized so that it was simple enough for me to do in a short amount of time. I’d definitely consider it because these conversations between parent and child are so important. Thanks for this!

  10. Interesting ideas. I always think technology in the classroom is great as long as it doesn’t interfere with teaching and take your eyes off of the kids, especially little ones. I myself haven’t tweeted; just haven’t taken the time to explore it as an option for me. Maybe I can squeeze it in during the last few weeks of summer break.

  11. I wish I could get into a reliable habit of tweeting our classroom happenings! And my second wish would be parents who followed our twitter feed!

  12. This is a great reflection. I may have to try this strategy again this year with my 4th grade classroom. I actually started my Twitter account with this kind of idea in mind, but did not keep up with it. Now that I am much more connected, I could probably keep a class Twitter account. I can see how the tweets could really make it easier for parents to engage in conversation with their parents about school. Thanks for sharing and getting me thinking about this again.

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