Schools and educators must build relationships with parents. In addition to making them feel welcome on campus, school leaders should do all they can to make them feel at home on campus. Here are some tips for engaging parents:
- Take them on a tour of your school: showing parents how amazing your classrooms and facilities are will help eliminate any concerns or preconceptions they might have.
- Hold parent nights: These events should be casual and fun, allowing all attendees to feel like valued members of the school community. Organize a discussion between you and your parents during these events.
- Online communication makes sharing information easier: Use your website to post content about what is happening in the classroom or any important announcements that they should know about. Use an app like Class Dojo, which allows you to communicate easily and see what is happening in your classrooms instantly.
- Use social media: Keeping families up to date about what is going on campus can be done easily through Twitter and Facebook. This can also be used to share pictures of your classroom or students doing a great job!
- Include parents in field trips: Involving parents in your students’ education will not only allow them to see the wonderful things that happen on campus, but it will also allow you as educators to strengthen relationships with them.
- Show your appreciation for parents: It can be as simple as sending a thank-you letter or inviting their child to take part in something fun on campus that encourages them to get involved with their classmates and feel more at home on campus.
- Welcome feedback and suggestions from parents: The more you let parents know they matter, the easier it will be when they have something important to share. Staff should welcome any ideas — even if they are not always feasible — as long as there is an open dialogue between all parties. You may need some time to carry out this work, but your efforts will go a long way toward strengthening relationships between you and improving relationships with your parents.
Parents are an important part of a school’s learning community, and schools should communicate effectively with them. By consistently communicating with them, you can make them feel like they are part of the school community.
We form relationships with our students’ families that are every bit as valuable as the relationships we build in our classrooms. Thus, you should make every effort to include your parent community in campus tours or hold events for them to get involved — whatever method best fits your needs.
By taking these few extra steps in involving parents early on, you will be able to truly strengthen relationships between educators and all members of a school’s family during its most critical developmental stages.