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Hosting Community-Building Events for Families

Sep 27, 2019    |   Family Engagement

Inviting parents and families to spend time in your center is a simple way to build connections and create a sense of community in your program. Hosting events such as potlucks, social get-togethers, or cultural celebrations gives families a chance to connect not only with teachers and staff, but also with one another. These connections help parents to feel at home in your program, as they become part of the community.

Coordinating Events

  • Ask for Help: Parents often like to be involved in coordinating or organizing family social events. You might consider sending out a survey to see if any parents would like to take on the responsibility of planning the event. Or, you might have a parent coordinator in each classroom who reaches out to families to schedule social events. Either way, enlisting the help of families will help to relieve some of the workload from teachers and staff.

  • Events Should Be Regularly Scheduled: It is helpful for families when events are regularly scheduled. Whether you have an annual summer kick-off or a monthly parent potluck, families will appreciate knowing when to expect events. When events are regularly scheduled, it also makes it easier for teachers and staff to prepare. You might consider making a calendar with all of your events laid out at the start of the new year, so that everyone can get the dates on their schedules and plan ahead.

  • Don’t Break the Bank: Events can be fun and successful without a lot of money. If you do not have a budget available for purchasing food for families, a potluck is a great way to involve families and keep down the total cost. While entertainment can be enjoyable, at the end of the day, parents and families are looking to build connections with each other. Bring in extra chairs or hold the event somewhere with a lot of room for parents to sit down and chat. Families will enjoy having a chance to get to know each other better.

Ideas for Social Events

There are many different kinds of social events that you can host. You might already have some events that families regularly attend. If you are considering adding some new events to your calendar for next year, here are some fun ideas for inspiration.

  • Seasonal Celebration: Rather than celebrating holidays, you can have a summer kick-off, a festival, or a winter celebration. These celebrations are inclusive for families celebrateing different holidays.

  • Family Project: Children love having their parents and family members spend time with them in the classroom. You can turn visits into family projects by inviting parents to come in and paint with their children or do a planned activity.

  • Sing-A-Long Family Music Event: Do you have a parent or a staff member who plays an instrument? You might invite them to play a few of the children’s favorite songs so the families to enjoy a fun music-filled event.

  • Family Picnic & Potluck at the Park: Invite all of the families to meet at a local park on a weekend for a potluck. Each family can sign up to bring a main dish, a side, or a dessert, and families can socialize while their children play. Meeting at a local park is a great option if you have an in-home center or a small amount of space, to ensure that there is room for everyone to feel included and welcome.

  • Parent Wine and Cheese Night: Not all events have to include the children. Some parents might enjoy having some time to chat with each other, without their kids. A wine and cheese gathering can be a fun way for families to socialize and get to know each other in a quieter and more formal setting.

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