Quote of the Day: “It takes a village to raise a child.”
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how to involve the community in my classroom. My teacher mentioned how she funded field trips and supplies by writing to the Kwanis in her area and the Ruritan clubs to see if they had additional funding and then sending them thank you cards. I’ve also heard her talk about other resources with the communities as well.
However, I realized to implement such programs would be interesting. I have a few ideas for ways I would love to bring the community into my classroom, so I figured I would research and lay out a few plans for my future classroom. All of my life I have been involved in the community through my grandparents (my grandfather was the first county doctor and went to everything), my parents, and volunteering. I’ve gone to the firefighters spaghetti dinners, driven for Meals on Wheels, hosted All Kids Swim where all our kindergarteners took lessons, called out senior citizen bingo on Thursdays, and more. For a classroom, involving the different sectors could be an amazing way to keep children learning and engaged. There are some schools that are built with a YMCA, Senior Citzen Center, or other community resources attached. Those schools have shown huge strides in learning because of their resources.
Here are a few ways I have researched (and thought of myself):
1: Career days with community members or parents as I teach children about careers or to help them envision themselves in careers and to show them how what they learned now will carry into the future.
2: Partnering with other elementary schools for sharing their writing via skype or having them have pen pals that they write to once a week in their Writer’s Workshop.
3: Seeing if the Senior Citizen Center will partner with me for coming to the class an reading a story to the children, telling a historic story if that is our history lesson, or having them as reading partners. I would really love to utilize this resource and maybe have them be buddies.
4: Parent volunteers in the classroom. Asking parents for specific help via email has been a research proven way of engaging parents in the classroom. With parents working, you can schedule reading schedules or volunteer shifts at start of day so they can help before work, or they can prepare learning centers from home. You can even have them read to the class over skype. There are even free school and volunteering apps (VolunteerSpot is recommended) to help keep parents in the loop.
5: Have artists from the community come and talk about their work to students.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t as much online as I had hoped for how to involve the community in the classroom, mostly it was about how to involve parents. While parents are the most important to involve, I wanted to research and learn more about community resources. I’ll have to keep ruminating on this topic and see what else I can come up with. Maybe I’ll have to write about how to specifically involve parents in another blog post.