Leverage family rituals to engage parents. Instead of bringing parents to school night events, why not support students to engage their parents in at home, in a setting most comfortable for each family? As a teacher, have a conversation with your class to discuss what family rituals they do at home. For some students, this might be family dinner at the table every evening, while for others it might be family gatherings on Sunday afternoon, a walk with a parent, or accompanying a parents on the bus ride home from work and school. Based on your own class, incorporate portions of projects that require feedback from parents. Tell students to find 10 or 20 minutes at home during a family ritual to show their parent a project they've been working on, and ask them to document the feedback in different formats. They could write it down, record it, or take a photo of it. Ask students to reflect on the feedback and incorporate it into their work. This will help child and parent strengthen new rituals to share ideas so that they have more to say than "what did you learn at school today", and support parents to be a part of their child's learning journey. Allowing the student to find ways to bring parents into their learning breaks down differences in family structures and language barriers. Students are able to choose which aspect of their work to share and learn how to communicate what they are learning. Children who don't have access to a parent can involve another close member of their community instead.
At school, we often brainstorm ways to get parents to come to showcase nights, to read flyers we send home, or to help students with their homework. In schools where there are varying levels of ability for parents to engage (time, language barriers, etc.) a one-size fits all approach is challenging at best and exclusive at its worst. Parents generally want to engage with and support their child but it can be hard to understand how. We also know how important it is for students to get real-world feedback, to reflect on their own work, and be able to communicate their ideas and learnings. Parents can be a great source of feedback, but we