If there is one thing that parents love about the Internet and social media, it has made it easier to get in touch with their children's teachers. Facebook and messaging apps like Whats App or Viber have made it possible to create groups for virtual parent-teacher conferences to discuss projects, send handouts, and more. Some even create a group on Facebook.
The problem is teachers and parents can find it difficult to have a meaningful conversation or interaction on an individual level. Announcements are great, but getting updates about your child's progress in school that day or week? And if you haven't checked your Viber or Facebook group, you are often faced with a long thread of conversations that you'll find out has nothing to do with you (after you read the 100th message, of course).
A possible solution you may want to mention to your child's teacher and school is an app we heard from a working mom, Christine Ong-Sandejas. Her youngest son, Caleb, 4, goes to Kids In Day School (KIDS), a progressive preschool in Makati City that’s been around for 17 years. The school has recently started to use the app this academic year called Seesaw Parent & Family app.
So how does it work? It works like Facebook but with a super heightened security. First, the teacher sets up the app and gets the email addresses of her students' parents so she can give them access. She’s the only one who is authorized to post videos, notes, photos, and recordings, for the parents to see.
Teacher Christina E. Nazario of KIDS told Smartparenting.com.ph via Facebook Messenger explained that unlike in a Facebook group where everybody can see the posts, the Seesaw Parent & Family app allows the teacher to tag parents and show them only posts about their child. The teacher can also allow or disable reactions or comments for each post, so it's a controlled online social media environment.
“It has improved communication between us, teachers and parents, as we can give them updates about their children faster,” Nazario shared. “With Seesaw, we can upload pictures and videos taken in class almost on the same day that we took them,” she said, adding KIDS’ teachers used to update parents via a "one-time big time" email report every month with pictures and reports. It was also easy for the teachers to check if the parents have seen their updates.
As a working mom, Christine loves the app, its secure network and getting updates in real-time. She finds it more interactive than just reading emails, and has even helped her get to know her son's classmates. “I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of things that are happening with my son because the teachers are documenting it and sharing it with me via the app,” she shares.
The app is also a big help for parents whose kids can't always articulate what happened to him or her in school. In fact, the immediate and visual updates give busy parents the tools to help their kids with school at home. “When you have an idea of what happened in school, there are so many ways you get involved: you can replicate the school activity or supplement it with something else,” she says.
The Seesaw Parent & Family app could also do other functions. “It is not just for sending pictures fast (like Facebook), it can also be used to send announcements (like Viber), and individual narratives (like emails) and it’s very convenient,” Nazario shared. That’s like hitting three birds with one stone and moms always love multitasking features.
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Kids in Day School (KIDS) is located at 9388 Calantas St., San Antonio Village, Makati City. For inquiries, contact them at (02) 895.1105.
Seesaw Parent & Family app is available on iOS and Android. It also has an app for older kids, the Seesaw Learning Journal app (also available for iOS and Android), which works like a portfolio, and helps teachers keep track of their students' progress and also share it with the parents, too.