Parent Participation: Integral to Learning Process
Every classroom culture is unique. If we invite parents to step inside and take a closer look, they will better understand and be able to participate actively in the learning process of their children throughout the year.
I believe that when parents experience situations similar to the experiences of their children in class, they can understand more profoundly how and what is expected of students on a daily basis. They can empathize and offer guidance with greater insight and perception.
Every month, we host parent meetings to help parents feel more connected to the learning process. We build a community of support for students so that the relationship between parent, child and teacher is open and purposeful. We lead parents in exercises and activities intended to mirror student learning experiences. Last week we began our ninety minute parent session with a chair exercise. The objective, to keep the person standing from occupying the empty seat. The purpose, to show how students learn to recognize their own tendencies. With multiple opportunities in this exercise, students learn to yield to others, to be patient, to be conscious of their surroundings, to commit to a decision or action and to alter expected behaviors to help the collective group attain a common goal. Students then transfer this thinking and way of being to their lives outside the classroom.
Without these fundamental competencies, we cannot be successful in life. As you’ll see in the video clips below, it’s not easy to master the exercise, even for adults, but when we do, what we learn can change the way we are in the world.
Chair Exercise With Parents
Chair Exercise With Students
Why do this exercise? What are we learning?
“It helps us concentrate and pay attention so people won’t get hurt.” Sofía.
“Doing something little can help a lot of people.” Danielle
“I learned about myself that I don’t have to move and be first.” Elliot
“We have to be ready for what’s coming our way.” Tammy
“We did this so we can learn how to cooperate and feel people without physically feeling them.” Destiny
“This will help me communicate with others when I grow up.” Lauryn
“It’s better to yield, work together and focus.” Ashley