As teachers, we know how vital it is that parents and guardians are involved in their child’s education. However, sometimes maintaining a strong school-home connection is easier said than done. If your connection with families feels like it’s lacking in some way, keep reading! I’m sharing some of my best tips for strengthening your relationship and communication with the families of your students.
Why is the School-Home Connection Important?
I love to use the analogy that education is like a three-legged stool: Parents are one leg, the school is another, and the student is the third. It takes all three working together to create a stable and effective educational experience for the student. When one leg is shortened or missing, the stool is unable to stand.
An effective school-home connection is what will keep the three legs of the stool securely in place, so we want that connection to be strong and effective!
A strong school-home connection will improve the quality of a child’s education. Students are likely to have a more positive attitude toward learning when their parents are involved and connected to what is happening at school. Students will benefit for years from the stability created by a strong connection between home and school.
Tips for Strengthening the School-Home Connection
I want to share some tips for strengthening the school-home connection in your classroom this year.
1. Focus on Relationships
If you feel like the school-home connection for students in your classroom could use some strengthening, I would suggest that you focus on relationships first. Developing relationships with your students and their families is essential for maintaining a strong connection. Parents need to know that you care about their children as individuals. (This is why student welcome letters are so helpful!) Also, students need to feel like you care about what happens when they leave your classroom for the day.
With large class sizes, it can feel overwhelming to foster relationships with 25+ students and their families. I totally understand! That’s why I wrote an entire blog post about creating a great relationship with parents. Be sure to check it out!
2. Increase Frequency of Communication
Another important way to strengthen the school-home connection is communicating with parents more frequently. When parents hear from you regularly, they will feel more connected to what is happening in the classroom. Communicating frequently invites parents to be more open with you. They will be more likely to jot down a quick note if they have questions since they know you value communication.
Does this mean that you’re writing 25 personal notes to families every night? Definitely not! Frequent communication can also mean reminders about school events, summaries of important lessons, and descriptions of upcoming projects. You can keep those lines of communication open by keeping families informed!
3. Find Positive Reasons for Reaching Out
If it is never a pleasant experience to hear from you, parents will start to avoid it completely. Instead, it’s important to find positive reasons to reach out to parents. Over time you will strengthen that school-home connection since parents won’t have an immediate knot in their stomachs when they see your name pop up in their email inbox. They’ll be more likely to listen to your voicemails when it’s possible they’re going to hear something positive about their child.
Sharing good news with parents will also open the door for them to have positive discussions about school with their children. When a child brings home a positive note from school, parents will generally be interested in hearing more about it. These positive discussions can also strengthen the school-home connection as children discuss school more openly with their parents.
4. Use Varied Forms of Communication
If you feel like some families don’t respond to a particular method of communication, try something else! If you normally send out notifications through Seesaw, switch it up with some colorful paper reminders one week and see if it makes a difference. Parents aren’t responding to emails? Try a text message or phone call! You’re bound to find the right combination of communication methods for the families in your class.
You might also consider taking a poll at the beginning of the year to see how families would prefer to receive information from you.
Resources for the School-Home Connection
Would you like to add a few things to your communication toolbox this year? I have created a bundle of resources that can help you strengthen your connection with parents. In this bundle you’ll find positive notes, reminders, growth mindset printables, and more!
These notes are editable so that you can add your custom message, print, and go! The goal of this resource is to make it easier for you to communicate with families this year. If you’d like to take a closer look at everything included in this mega bundle, just head on over to my shop or Teachers Pay Teachers.
Save These School-Home Connection Tips
I hope these tips have given you some ideas for strengthening the school-home connection for your classroom this year. If you’d like to refer back to these ideas and resources, you can save this post. Just add the pin below to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest! You’ll be able to quickly find this post whenever you’d like to return to it.