Enhancing Parent Involvement and Building a Reading Culture in ECE
By Rebecca Kramer ECE Principal, Colegio Interamericano, Guatemala City, Guatemala

We all know that having parents and families involved in their child's learning experience at school has a profound impact on student learning. After the pandemic put numerous obstacles in our path preventing many forms of family involvement on campus it is now a great time to reevaluate and revitalize family participation at school. This year, in my third year as principal of the early childhood division at Colegio Interamericano in Guatemala, I made it my personal mission to incorporate more meaningful family involvement activities and, so far, they have all been met with positive feedback from parents, students and teachers alike!
 
One of our initiatives was the Mystery Reader activity. Parents received a list like this one at the beginning of the year from their child’s homeroom teacher to sign up for a Friday to come into their child’s class to read aloud and do a small activity related to the book. To add an element of intrigue, on the Monday before their visit, the family member would send the teacher a list of five clues about their identity. Each day leading up to Friday, students are eager to hear these clues, employing their critical thinking skills and knowledge of their peers to unravel the mystery. The family members spend approximately thirty minutes in the class but it is specific, meaningful and aligned to our goals of building community and building readers! Our students are thrilled to see parents, grandparents or even family friends come in to share in their learning. The families love getting time in the classroom, sharing a special story and getting a chance to see the children in their class environment. Teachers are forming more meaningful connections with families, supporting communication needs. We are excited to continue this activity for years to come.
 
Building a strong school family in which parents, teachers and students all work together for the same common goal of supporting the academic and non-academic growth of our students is key. Finding meaningful ways to get our parents involved in learning has been successful in ECE this year. We are eager to continue this activity and more to build deeper connections and continue to find ways to bring learning to all aspects of our students’ lives.