Hello there. Welcome to “Connecting with families: Conversations that make a difference.” This KidsMatter eLearning course has been designed for early childhood educators and primary school teachers to support their work with families. The course comprises two modules. Module one looks at how we build effective partnerships between families, teachers, and early childhood educators. This module provides the foundation for module two: “Managing difficult conversations.”


You’ll be presented with case scenario demonstrations, and you’ll participate in interactive activities. In the Resources Library, you can access additional section content, activities, and further reading. You can save any resources you find particularly relevant in My Toolkit.


Okay, enough from me. Let’s get started by hearing from the people this course is all about.

Paul, teacher:


Before you have a difficult conversation with a parent, it can be nerve-wracking; it can create a bit of anxiety, it can create some stress.

Marina, student:


It’s important that parents and teachers talk to each other so that the teacher would find out what’s going on at home, and the parents would find out what’s going on at school.

Rachel, parent:


I had a situation with one of my children where there was a personality clash between the teacher and my daughter.

Dee, educator:

I like to ask the parent if this is what they want for their child.



If the teacher is not aware of that child’s personality and their learning styles, it can make for a very frustrating year for that child.


Those stories are good examples of how qualities like respect, empathy, and goodwill help a positive relationship to develop.

Dr Celeste Merrigan, clinical psychologist:


Many assumptions we make are based on facts we know or things we’ve learned from experience. They can be useful, but problems arise when assumptions are inaccurate or based on incomplete information. Often it’s very difficult to tell the difference.



Strong emotions can be tricky to deal with. That’s why having skills to manage them is so important. Let’s do another activity to put some of these skills into practice.



Thanks for coming in for a chat. Now as you know, we’ve been observing Oscar for the last couple of weeks, and I wanted to talk to you about some of the things we’ve noticed. We think that Oscar might have some issues with speech and language.


Oh no. What do you mean?



Let me explain. We’re not experts, obviously, but we have noticed that he can find it quite difficult to form sounds and words. Now, lots of children his age have some difficulty with this, but it seems to be more of an issue for Oscar. The other children often don’t understand what he’s saying, and that can be really frustrating for him.



Thanks for taking the time to participate in the course. It’s been my pleasure to be part of it with you. I wish you all the best in your continuing endeavours to connect with the families you work with, and have conversations that make a difference.