Including parents in their Childs education is extremely important. Children feel more comfortable sharing about their school day when they know that their family understands what they area talking about! Parents feel more involved with the school and it becomes a more welcoming place.
I wanted to make a list of activities to invite parents in on a regular basis. Having something fun or exciting makes the activity a bit more engaging for families to want to participate. Our first invitation was for Stone Soup and we did not invite siblings as we knew the participation was going to be huge. Our suspicion was correct and our classes were bursting at the seams! In the future I will consider inviting younger siblings to help ease their transition into kindergarten!
The following is a list of the ideas that I would like to use in my classroom. Several of them I have used in my classroom already. I hope you find this list to be useful. As I come across new ideas I will be adding them.
Play InvitationInvite parents to learn along with you as a natural part of the day. Some teachers do this quarterly, monthly or weekly. I know colleagues who have invited parents for the last 45 minutes of the day. Others invite them for the last block and I have even heard of a "drop in" style where parents are invited any time of the day to stay for 30-60 minutes at a time. "Welcome Wednesdays" and "Family Fridays" are two coined phrases I have heard of over the years to help parents remember when the visit days are scheduled.
Stone SoupThis is the very first family visit that we had in our class. Students bring in a vegetable and we made a soup together. During the last learning block, families were invited to eat with us and learn with us as we shared our soup! Click here to read about our stone soup experiences!
Games DayWho doesn't love playing a game? Children love to play and harnessing this energy makes learning fun! Most games have many math concepts which support the math curriculum. Plus, the extra bonus of social/emotional development. Have families bring their favourite to play and swap for the afternoon with other families to learn a new game!
Puzzle DayFamilies bring their favourite puzzle to school and build it together with friends. Share/swap with other families for a new challenge.
Math EventProvide a variety of math games for parents to participate and learn along with their children.
Reading InvitationProvide a wide variety of books from the library and invite parents to come in to read with their child a wide variety of books!
Baking FunStudents bake something that they all can enjoy (we have many allergies in my classroom) and share with their visiting family members!
Class ConcertPractice a song or two and put on a concert for your families! Children love to perform and what can be better than an intimate concert? If you've already presented for an assembly, perform the same activity for the families!
Class PlayIf your students have created a play, shown an interest in puppetry or love nursery rhymes this is a perfect opportunity to put on a show!
Inquiry CelebrationAfter an inquiry, students can show off all they have learned to their families!
Multicultural Food DayHave families bring in a special food from their culture to share with others. Make sure they bring an ingredients list if there are allergies.
Build a CommunityIf your students have an interest in community helpers, 3D figures, maps or even treasure hunts this might be a big hit in your classroom! Have students create a community and show it off to others. This can be done with Lego, recycled materials or even as a mural that they create together. The options are endless!
Gingerbread TrapsThe gingerbread man is on the loose in the school! Challenge parents to make a trap with their child in order to help catch him. When parents come the children can share how they created the trap with each other.
St Patrick's Day TrapSt. Patrick's is on the loose in the classroom! Challenge parents to make a trap with their child in order to help catch him. When parents come the children can share how they created the trap with each other.
Teddy Bear PicnicInvite parents to a teddy bear picnic with their child. Bring your own food or make it a special event to share food.
Create GiftsTeaching others to reach out to the greater community is a valuable lesson to teach even young children. We have hosted parents coming in to make crafts that we have donated to local senior homes in our community. Parents and children love to be a part of this and the seniors love to decorate their residence with gifts from our class! In the past we have made wreathes with patterned paintings of our hands and door hang decorations for during the holiday seasons.