Connecting with Families
Invite families and children to work together to create a "family panel" that will introduce each family to the school community. On sheets of paper, families can draw or write about family members, traditions, pets, hobbies, and interests, or attach meaningful items (photos, pieces of cloth, small toys, and so on) and write about them. The sheets are then attached to create the panel. Hang these where everyone can see them during the first months of school and then laminate and bind them into a favorite classroom book.
Celebrate the community! Encourage each family to contribute to a visible community art piece. Quilts, tile mosaics, and ribbon weavings all make beautiful and meaningful representations of the importance of community.
Start a community garden in a small plot beside your school. Invite adults and children to help plant and tend the garden. Donate produce and flowers from your garden to local charity organizations.
Create a "tender loving care" committee made up of staff and family members who are ready to jump into action when, for instance, a teacher has an accident or a family gives birth to triplets. Make certain that children are involved in all aspects of this committee's functioning.
Plan "Potluck International Dinners" where everyone creates a traditional family dish. Collect the recipes and create a school cookbook that celebrates the diversity in your community. Use these recipes to create an interesting and varied snack menu for your school.
Organize a buddy system in your school so that families who have children in the school assist new families in making smooth transitions into the school community.
When children witness adults acting in these kind and generous ways toward one another, they learn valuable lifelong lessons about relationships.