Reducing Space Between Professional and Home

Teachers interacting with parents in comfortable spaces

Photo of Steve Kutno
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In many places, parents are reluctant to visit schools because they represent large, faceless, policy-driven bureaucracies. Teachers and schools have played with all sorts of models that are meant to make the school/classroom less intimidating and more inviting, often to no avail. When teachers make a point of visiting with each parent/family near the beginning of the year, it helps to reduce anxiety and personalize the experience. These can be done through home visits, community center open-houses, and places of worship. The idea is to help parents/caregivers to connect on a personal level. From there it becomes easier to invite parents into schools and classrooms for more specific conversations.

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Sacramento, CA Priority Schools Williamsburg VA Community Outreach

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Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Steve,
I agree that it's important create a space where parents feel comfortable. Do you have any tips to support teachers who've never visited a family in their home before?

Photo of Steve Kutno
Team

Hi Jessica,
In some communities in which I have worked, the first step is to meet in neutral space like community centers, churches/houses of worship, sporting events, etc. The idea is to meet family members in non-threatening environments in which the first conversations are not about the goings on at school or the academic performance of a child. The purpose it to connect on a personal level and to demonstrate deep caring for the development of the child/children.
Steve

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