Connecting Home, School, and Community
Out of school environments impact a child’s learning and behaviors as much as in-school experiences. When home, school, and community missions align, we wrap the child in support.
Many Total Learning strategies are effective in community and home environments as well as the classroom.
Family resource centers, family workers, after-school providers, parents, and other family members can use Total Learning strategies, lessons, and materials to help children understand themselves and others, and develop expressive skills to communicate in productive, safe ways.
Engaging community and family members through the arts provides for adult expression. Some adults will be familiar with the arts, while some didn’t have these experiences in childhood. It’s never too late, and the goal is expression, not perfection. In a group setting, adults often chat and develop relationships while making art. They enjoy singing, dancing, and drama as they learn the importance of these outlets for children’s natural growth. Positive experiences are shared with children as adults pass on the activity.
Adults will be more likely to do activities in community settings and at home if they are relevant to their lives, and the materials are provided. This can often be accomplished through a local grant.
Parent/Family Support Programs
Some ways to connect:
- Invite the larger community into your professional development sessions. Plan time to discuss how families can follow up on the classroom activities and learning.
- Discover how the arts are practiced in community and home environments. Invite community artists (musicians, visual artists, dancers, and actors) – to share their art expertise with the school community. Be aware that community artists include barbers, dress designers, cake makers, street and church musicians, knitters and quilters, and other non-traditional arts practitioners have knowledge and skills to share.
- After your professional development, plan and hold teacher-family events to share strategies and skills. Consider how to keep communication flowing.
- Make Total Learning part of your family resource center. Family resource providers learn and share strategies and activities to go into the home.
- Families meet to explore Total Learning strategies and then use them at home.
- Individual parents or family adults explore Total Learning strategies and adapt them for family use.
- Provide materials and a simple activity book to families for home use. Crayons and a journal, egg shakers and a drum, scarves and masks are great activity starters.
Keep track of your activities. These records can be used to provide data to document success, change ineffective practices, or for upcoming grants. Also, consider ways to document risk levels for parents and families, then identify targeted local resources to address the issues at hand.
Bring the joy and power of arts-based activities to connect the community, families, schools, and children.
For more information:
Global Family Research Project, https://globalfrp.org/