Eight Easy Ways to Engage Families in the Fall

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Connecting families into your program at the beginning of the school year is key to active parents throughout the year. One way to do this is by hosting a Fall event at your center. Events can be a great opportunity for families to get to know the center’s staff as well as other families at the same time. If your center has never hosted an event for parents before, don’t panic, it can often be easier than it looks.

As you plan your school year calendar this year, I would encourage you to incorporate a few family events. Below is a list of some great events for the Fall season ahead. My hope is that you can take these ideas back to your center, expand on them, and make them your own.

Here are 8 events ideas to get you started.

1. Pumpkin Patch Field Trip: Everyone loves a trip to the local Pumpkin Patch. Invite families to come along and it will be a field trip you won’t forget. Often farms will even give you a deal for bringing a large group, check it out!

2. Harvest Party: Classroom parties are another great way to engage families at your center. Have parents sign up to bring supplies, plan an art project or donate a special snack item. This is a great way for families to see the class in full swing and take part in the learning process with their kids. It is not often that parents get to be in the class with their child and help create these opportunities for them.

3. Dads and Pumpkins Night: Dads often get forgotten when it comes to events. Make sure when planning your yearly events that you have at least one for dads. Dads and Pumpkins is great because the dads need something to do! When hosting an event for the dads in your school, having an activity is KEY!

4. Fall Birthday Celebration: A fun way to celebrate birthdays is breaking them up by season. Host your families for a big seasonal birthday celebration in the classroom. What child or parent doesn’t love celebrating birthdays? This helps ensure that no child is ever forgotten and their classroom birthday celebration isn’t dependant on their parent alone.

5. Turkey Feed: Host a pioneer Turkey Feed in your classroom. This gives the chance for some learning and fun at the same time. Assign the food items to parents, like a potluck, and the kids can dress up. This event will be a kid favorite!

6. Movie Night: A movie night gives parents a night off. Show a movie and offer a pizza dinner for the kids while mom and dad take the night off. This is also a good way to have families invite new families into the center. Offer a discount for the event if they bring a friend who is new to the school.

7. Clothing Drive: Don’t we all want to teach our children how to care for the poor? Well, a great way is to model it and also have them do it with you. A clothing drive is especially helpful as the weather starts to turn. Encourage your families to go through their closets and donate any coats that they aren’t going to be using this winter.

8. Can Food Drive: Another good way to teach our kids selflessness is to care for others. Have your families clear out their pantries and hit up the local grocery store. Make it fun, maybe add a little competition between your classes. Offer a prize to the group who brings in the most food items!

When families engage in their child’s education and care, something magical happens. As caregivers, it is our job to give parents that opportunity. Don’t be afraid to invite parents into the classroom, be excited! When they see how much time, energy, and love you put into your classroom day in and day out they will be blessed beyond measure.

Lastly, don’t we all want to be known? When we KNOW the families in our center, they feel this sense of pride for it. If you want families who are committed to your center, mission, and vision then it is a must to get them involved. They most likely want to but are just waiting for you to engage with them first.

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My name is Julia Erman, I am a former Childhood Educator and Director of School Programs. After my daughter was born, it was time for a change and I now work as a Customer Advocate to help centers grow and reach their goals through Sandbox Software. Check out the Sandbox blog for more of my articles.
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