Parent and family members are a child’s first teacher and their primary advocate. It is important that we cherish that and remind our selves that the parent is that child’s support system. It is great to see teachers cherish families and show children the importance of their family. Engaging and celebrating families is at the heart of supporting our youngest learners. Here are some tips on what you can do so in your classroom to support families and your children.
Showing of Families
• Have children bring in pictures of their family members and make a collage to post on the family tree in the classroom.
• Allow the children to talk about who is in their photos and tell what they love best about their family.
Have a Family Week
• Invite families to come in and talk about where they are from and things about their culture.
• Encourage them to bring in pictures or favorite things that they like to do or eat in the classroom.
• Encourage parents to visit the classroom, be volunteers, or secret readers to the children.
Classroom Family Book
• Make a classroom family book. You can take the pictures of each child that is in the classroom and then add photos of their family in the book as well.
• Put the book in the quiet area in case children are missing their family or wants to look at all of their friends in their classroom. (Make sure that you add to the book as new children come into the classroom).
• Each year you have made a yearbook of all of the children in your classroom, and you have a keepsake of all of your kidos.
Sharing about Families
• Allow the children to come in and tell their favorite family story. This can really get fun. Children at this age can be so creative, and that is ok. We want them to be creative and to think deeper into what they remember about their family time.
Celebrating with Families
• If there is a significant family event like the birth of a new baby or marriage of parents, celebrate it. Post a Congratulations poster or let the children make a card. The more you show that you care about their family and you want to be involved in their child’s life then the more that families will trust you and the more understanding they are about what you are asking out of your classroom.
Provide family involvement activities that are engaging to the children and the families.
Invite community members in to talk to families. Provide games or activities that will keep children engaged with their parent. Allow for activities that they all can get involved in and do something together. Our families don’t have a lot of time together, or they have no idea on what to do with their children, so this is a great time to help give our parents some great ideas.
• Have a multicultural night. Look at the different cultures that you have in your center. Teach children about the different places that their friends have come from and allow parents to go in and talk about where they are from. Then, have many activities to help children learn about the different places then have a night where families can come in and learn about where the families are from and some neat things about their culture. This is a great way for not only the children learn that it is ok to be different but for families too.