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Planning social events that bring together school faculty and staff with families in informal gatherings is one effective way to create a family-friendly school environment. Informal gatherings help educators “make connections and build relationships” with families (Lueder, 1998). Feeling welcome at school with events such as these can help encourage families to become more involved in activities to enhance their children’s learning.
Building Family-friendly Atmospheres:
Practices for creating a family-friendly atmosphere in schools include:
1. Developing and publicly posting a family-school-community partnership policy that provides the philosophical
framework for all family-school-community activities.
2. Establishing policies and practices that “acknowledge traditional and nontraditional families”
(Massachusetts Department of Education, 2000) and recognize the variety of parenting traditions and practices
within the school community (National PTA, Standard 2: Parenting, 2002).
3. Creating an open-door policy and climate in the school that is responsive to parents and their concerns.
4. Providing translations of printed material and making available translators for all languages spoken in the school,
including sign language for hearing-impaired families.
5. Arranging for flexibility in routine tasks such as registration and orientation (on-line options, telephone options,
day and evening hours, etc.) to accommodate different family needs.
6. Considering varied family needs and preferences when scheduling meetings and school events; and offering child care,
transportation, and refreshments for participating families.
7. Creating an atmosphere that says, “We respect everyone. We understand and will try to accommodate your unique
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