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October 2, 2013

Cultivating Parent Involvement

Developing good relationships with your classroom parents takes more than just a friendly demeanor and saying nice things about their child. It takes time to show parents how dedicated you are in getting to know their child and how much you care about their development.Blog1

Showing families that you are honestly and genuinely committed to each little personality in your classroom involves things like documenting meaningful learning experiences through photos, journal entries, and art pieces. It is also shown through the unique 1-2 sentence stories you share about each child on their daily report, and in the way you interact and show interest in their lives during pick up and drop off. Once parents understand your passion for teaching, they’ll be drawn to want to get more involved in your classroom.

Try these suggestions for getting parents involved:

  • Turn family stories into invitations. Anytime you have an opportunity to invite a parent in to share that directly involves their child is motivation in itself. Occasionally parents share adorable little stories about their child; something they did over the weekend, a funny story, a family vacation, or the fact that their little one is now obsessed with a particular bedtime story or song. These are opportunities to invite the parent in to share along with their child. This not only builds a deeper bond between parent and child, but it helps build confidence in the child, pulls the parent into your classroom community, and teaches the rest of your students about the diversity of families.
  • Invite parents to read to the class. Some parents may feel intimidated to read to an entire classroom, but you can ease them into it by saying things like, “Students love to hear stories from multiple voices. This helps reaffirm the importance of reading and builds enthusiasm as they see all kinds of people enjoying books! Plus, Abby is always bragging about what a great story teller you are!”Blog2
  • Ask families to share their special family traditions. You could mention to a parent that their child shared a fascinating story about a particular tradition or event unique to their family. Invite them in to tell the class all about it! You could turn the visit into an activity that involves cooking, making a craft, or learning a cultural dance.
  • Invite parents to build community connections by teaching little ones about their profession. Children have a general idea about what a firefighter, nurse, and police officer does, but have they ever considered the daily work of a retail store manager or architect? Broaden horizons by inviting parents in to talk about their jobs!

Always call attention to upcoming center events posted around the center and in our newsletters in person during pick up or drop off.


Contributed by Jennifer Horner, Education Specialist