There are many ways to communicate the educational values of your early childhood classroom to parents. As you begin the year, if s important for you to help families recognize your focus on teaching their child to love learning. This helps them to recognize it as an essential part of their child's development.

Here are a few ways to communicate to families how openended, thought-provoking, and meaningful experiences are not only fun but develop important high-level learning skills:

Establish a good relationship with families. Share your goal for creating a classroom of children who love to learn. Invite families to discuss their own goals for the year.

Hold an "I Love Learning" workshop or a Family Night. You can invite parents to share their own love of learning at your first Family Night. Use the "Ask Yourself" questions to get a conversation going about their own early learning experiences. Invite parents to talk about what they hope to inspire in their children. Provide a few simple, hands-on, challenging activities so that parents gain an understanding of your approach to activity-based teaching. You might want to start the workshop by asking parents to do workbook pages! Ask, "What new things did you learn while doing this?" Then invite them to try the hands-on activities in the different learning centers. Later, ask them to talk about which type of activity required the most thinking and which was the most fun!

Send home extension activity ideas. Families want to know what they can do at home to support the learning at school. Unfortunately, they sometimes think that means it should be homework or a workbook-type pencil and paper activity. You can inspire families by sending home simple hands-on activities that are an extension of what you are doing in the classroom. For example, if you are experimenting with the concept of "float and sink," you can suggest a simple experiment they can do in the bathtub using a variety of household objects. If you are introducing children to the concept of non-standard measurement, you can suggest families use household objects such as socks or napkins to measure the couch, the rug, or a bed.