Saturday, September 15, 2012
Parents as Partners
We hosted our open house at school this week and invited families to come into our learning environment to share in the children's successes and learning. It was so inspiring to see the excitement that the parents shared for their children's learning this week!
In Reggio Inspired classrooms...
"Parental participation is essential, and they play an active part in their children's learning experience. It helps teachers to view families not as a threat, but as an intrinsic element of collegiality and as the integration of different wisdoms" (Spaggiari, 1993).
On the afternoon of our open house, we shared with the children that we had a special art project that they could add to with their families. We showed them the canvas and explained that we wanted to add our families hands so that they would always be with us in the classroom. Their response was applause and huge grins of excitement! The children were buzzing about how excited they were to tell their families about the project that night.
At our open house, we set out a large canvas and encouraged families to collaboratively create a beautiful piece of art for our classroom. The children, their parents, and even siblings took turns painting each others hands and adding them to our collage.
The families really enjoyed the collaborative art and the following day the children stood underneath the painting that we hung on the wall and talked about the different hands that were added the night before.
Each month at our school we host an Open House Celebration night. We invite families in at the end of the day to come into the learning environment to explore the projects, documentation, and learning that is happening inside. It is such a beautiful time to celebrate the children and their knowledge with families. This year, we are going to add a new element to our open house nights - collaborative art!
Each month we will work with the children and through their interests or explorations determine a piece of collaborative art that we can work on with families. The art will remain in the room as a connection between school and home. The families were very excited to hear of our new idea and are looking forward to our first celebration night!
We already feel a great connection with our new and returning Kindergarten families. We truly value the relationships and see our parents as partners in the classroom. We are looking forward to getting to know families and learning from their experiences and culture as the year continues!