The easiest way to start any family engagement effort is to begin collecting photos from each of your families. There are so many ways that these can be used in the classroom.
- Decorate a quiet space with the photos and children can sit there and look at their family’s photo when they are feeling sad or need a little reassurance.
- Use them to help the children get to know each other
- Talk about family structures and compare similarities and differences
- Look at each family member’s physical characteristics
- Practice naming each family member and write their names
Of course the most difficult piece of this work is actually getting families to bring you the photos. You could ask them to email them to you, which works out well if parents have photos on their phones. I like to send home this assignment for families to work on together, then the children bring the finished product back into school to share with the class.
Asking for family photos is the perfect way to begin building relationships with families because it helps them to see that you value them so much that you want to display their photos in your classroom. It also gives you a great opportunity to learn about the members of each family as you ask their names in order to discuss them with the class.