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Building Partnerships with Parents

September 2, 2011
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Building Partnerships with Parents

If you are not back to school this week, you will definitely be returning after the holiday weekend. We have talked about the importance of building relationships with your colleagues and your students, but don’t forget to build strong relationships with the parents/caregivers of your students. You are partners with parents in the growth and development of their children. The first days of school are an important time to connect with students AND parents as you build community and partnerships.

Learning extends beyond the classroom into the home when teachers plan learning activities for families.  Learning activities should deliberately connect to classroom curriculum, providing students a variety of ways to apply knowledge and skills.  Family projects provide parents additional opportunities to be involved in the education of their children while providing teachers with more information about their students’ families.  The more teachers know about their students, the better teachers can facilitate students’ learning.

Family Class Book

A Family Class Book chronicles the heritage of each student’s life and family.  Every family contributes one to three pages that include drawings, photographs, and information about each student’s family life.  The Family Class Book becomes part of the language arts curriculum since it involves reading and writing.  More importantly, it is another way to build classroom community and directly involve parents.

  • Check out ReadWriteThink. http://www.readwritethink.org The website includes excellent lesson plans for creating Family Class Books.( http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=941)
  • Read the bilingual children’s book, Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia by Carmen Lomas Garza to the class.  This book is a model for creating a Family Class Book with further suggestions for classroom implementation.
  • Invite parents to include information about family and extended family members including family history, interests and hobbies, favorite foods and recipes, traditions and celebrations.
  • Ask parents for help with organizing and binding the book.
  • Allow each student to check out the original Family Class Book overnight and have the book prominently displayed in the classroom for visitors to read.
  • Make a photo copy of the Family Class Book for each student.

Make the most of all opportunities to connect with students’ families.

If we are to reach our goal of producing successful students, we must partner with the people ultimately responsible for those students — their parents. Develop and foster such a partnership. (Educational World, 2009)

This idea and other family projects can be found in our book, From SURVIVING to THRIVING: Mastering the Art of  the Elementary Classroom.

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