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Dr. Tisha Shipley has been in education for 17 years. She has taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, Gifted and Talented 3rd-6th Grades, Dr. Shipley was an elementary principal, a cheer coach, and was on...
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Why Are Family Forums Important?

Family Forums start the first month of school and run each month until the last day of school. Family Forums were something that I used to build reciprocal relationships with the families that I worked with. They were important in my classroom because it allowed anyone that contributed to the child’s school success to become a part of our classroom community.  I was able to really bond with the family members of each child and to show that I truly cared about their success and their stages of development.

A Family Forum can be anything you want it to be.  I made my family forums important by touching on or teaching skills that I was going to be teaching in the classroom.  My first family forum was always:

Getting to Know Each Other: This Forum was held the first month of school.  I provided food, and music.  I gave hand-outs on how my classroom ran (procedures, the snack calendar, schedule etc). I gave a tour of the school building and my classroom.  I showed the centers and how they ran and gave an example of how the day would be spent.  I allowed each family time to get to know each other.  We played an “Ice Breaker Game” and I handed out prizes and at the end always handouts on community resources, events for children in the community and places for families to be involved or receive help. I wanted to make sure that my families knew about the social medial forums I would be using so they could follow what were were doing in the classroom. Social Media:  I acclimated families with my professional and educational Twitter, Pinterest, blog, Youtube and classroom website. I also helped families set these tools up for themselves.

Other monthly forums Ideas:

  • Teaching about our Classroom Community
  • Why we use centers (Research on this topic)
  • Professionals from the Community (speakers)
  • Family Take Home Bags
  • Understanding Math Concepts
  • Understanding how Children grow and Develop
  • Healthy Ideas for the Family
  • Recipes and Cooking Ideas for Families
  • Large Motor and Small Motor Development:
  • Understanding Literacy
  • Why I used Thematic Units/Integrated Units to Teach
  • Science Fun
  • How to work with your children at home

The list above are only a few that you can make your own. You can truly do any topic or idea that you feel is important with your families. Things to remember:

  • You must be very organized (there must be a reason you are meeting)
  • Don’t waste time (families coming don’t have a lot of time and are choosing to spend it with you)
  • A Family Forum is no longer than one hour in length.
  • Video your Forum and post to your Youtube channel for families that are not able to attend)
  • Always tell them what the theme will be for the next month.

Things to consider that I had at each Family Forum I held:

  • Music
  • Food
  •  Games
  • Give Always
  • Outside presenter (community member that had knowledge that my families may need) This was Not at every Forum, but many.

I believe that Family Forums are important and build a reciprocal relationship with the teacher and family.  They allow a trusting relationship to form that is helpful in and out of the classroom.  You can take any idea you have and make it your own. Soon, you may have your entire school community having a Family Forum night.

If you didn’t start Family Forums at the beginning of the year it is never too late to begin!  Whatever month you choose is fine, and whatever topic you choose is fine. You just want to be very clear on what your forums are going to teach etc.

To get a little bit more background on what a Family Forum is you can read an article I had published:
Family Forums What Are They?  This will help you have a better understand of what each one would entail and if it is right for you.

You can also visit my webpage on Family Forums to better understand the idea.