We’re big on parent involvement at Momentous School. We believe that the best way to educate a child is to do so in tandem with the whole family. So we’ve made it clear to our families that this school is their space and they’re always welcome here. We believe in this premise so much that we’ve dedicated a whole room just to them. We call it the Parent Center.
The parents can do whatever they’d like in the Parent Center. There are computers in there, so they can check their email or do work, and there are toys for younger siblings who might be in tow. The parents sometimes have classes like GED or English language classes. And most importantly, the parents schedule their own activities. Sometimes one parent will teach the group how to sew, or make tortillas or paper flowers. They’ll decorate the float for our neighborhood Cinco de Mayo parade in there, or work on projects for the classrooms, like sewing fabric backs for chairs that hold books and papers for the students.
What’s most important about the Parent Center is that they take ownership of the space. We don’t ask the parents to do things like make copies for us, and we don’t use the room for meetings or anything else. They own the space and they can choose how to use it. They have a whiteboard outside the room that posts their upcoming scheduled events, and anyone can pop in and out any time they need to.
We are intentional about two kinds of parent engagement to build a strong lasting relationship with our families – within and between engagement. That’s why we do home visits before the start of each year, and our 3-year-old families receive monthly home visits. We pay equal attention to developing between family engagement. We want families to be connected to each other and form a supportive community, which then influences their involvement in the school community. We want our school to be a warm, welcoming space for families. The Parent Center, among other things, makes that possible.
We can’t recommend this enough! If you have an opportunity to carve out a room or area in your school for parents, we encourage you to go for it.