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40 Ideas That Can Get Parents Involved

Most centers find it a challenge to get parents involved even though their involvement can mean a world of difference in their child’s success. Here are some ideas that can help you to get some parental involvement going.

  1. Make refrigerator notes for parents.
  2. Hold your first parent meeting at a fast-food restaurant.
  3. Provide “Fact Cards” for parents with school name, address, phone number, name of principal, school secretary, school nurse. This could even be a refrigerator magnet!
  4. Send home tape recorded messages in parents’ own language.
  5. Celebrate the birthday of an author at your center and ask parents to come and read the author’s books to the class.
  6. Establish “Take Home Tuesday” as day to send school papers home.
  7. Hold a dessert night for parents and have children share stories they have written.
  8. Hold a reading night with parents bringing books to read with their child.
  9. Ask parents to volunteer a skill they can share at your center and teach the students.
  10. Remember the 3 “F”s for success – Food, Families, Fun.
  11. Use videos to show busy parents their children in action.
  12. Hold a holiday meal as a dinner theater and have the students be the waiters. Students can make also make table decorations during art time. Provide theater tickets to parents to attend.
  13. Host a game night at your center and provide game centers for parents and children to rotate through during the night. Provide popcorn and a drink.
  14. Put up parent-friendly signs at school-directing them to the office.
  15. Greet visiting parents as quickly as possible-perhaps use volunteers.
  16. Have children’s work on display all over the school – every child’s work, not just the work of your “future artists.”
  17. Make “Sunshine Calls” to reach out when you see that parents need some cheering up.
  18. Offer parenting classes.
  19. Train your staff in parent involvement.
  20. Hold informal “drop in” coffee times and encourage parents to come.
  21. Have some place in the building that parents can call their own.
  22. Establish and use parent advisory groups.
  23. Conduct surveys to understand how your families feel about your center.
  24. Reach out to new families-again and again.
  25. Establish a parents’ Hall of Fame.
  26. Always have agendas for parent meetings.
  27. Share with parents experiences you have had with your own children – it breaks down barriers, gets you out of your “role” and help parents see you as a fellow parent.
  28. Never ask parents questions where there can be wrong answers.
  29. Consider instituting learning contracts involving your center, the parent and the child.
  30. Hold several open house programs throughout the year.
  31. Publish a calendar for your center.
  32. Use simple evaluation forms to get parent feedback.
  33. Find ways to praise parents for ways they are helping their children.
  34. Do projects that call on Dad’s special abilities (building, painting); feature male speakers; proclaim celebrations; offer incentives (raffles, etc.).
  35. Enlist parental help with developing a center handbook.
  36. Put up a Welcome sign in every language spoken by students and parents at your center and get help from parents in getting the words right.
  37. Try an overnight read-in with parents, kids and local drop-in celebrities.
  38. Take parents’ pictures. Tell them in advance that pictures will be taken with their child, and prepare for a crowd.
  39. Present a TV workshop for parents-how to control TV time.
  40. Create a video or slide show of what’s going on.

Resource: Child Care Lounge

About the Author:

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After studying graphic design at the University of Georgia, Jill held several positions in media and marketing including Art Director, Editor and Marketing Director. As a student of dance, she has spent plenty of time in children’s activity centers and puts that experience to work for her in the work she does with Jackrabbit. In addition to her interest in dance, Jill also enjoys sports, gourmet cooking, entertaining, singing and spoiling her five grandchildren.

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