Tips for creating a welcoming environment in your classroom

Helping families and children feel comfortable in the classroom starts with intentional steps taken by educators. As we continue to celebrate National Family Literacy Month®, today we’re focusing on ways to build relationships with families and create opportunities for them to engage in the classroom and their child’s learning. 

Photo of an empty kindergarten classroom.

Not quite sure where to begin with your family engagement practices? We’re happy to share some ideas to get you started!

  • Make sure families have access to the classroom and school by hosting events for the families in the space. Where that is not possible because of COVID or other illness concerns, you can take pictures of your classroom and share them in communications. This allows families to ask you questions and build awareness of the space.
  • Strive to represent all students and families through pictures, posters, and
    language in the classroom. Ask families to bring a few copies of a family picture into the classroom. If they are unable, then you can take a picture and print it at school. Display the pictures on the wall or make a class book children can revisit from time to time. In order to keep these pictures relevant to the classroom community, dedicate time during a large group session to give children a chance to show the picture and share about their families.
  • Acknowledge and affirm the strengths of students’ diverse
    heritage and identities by inviting students to share their stories, histories, and funds of knowledge.
  • Think of ways to create two‐way communication with families to encourage them to express their needs or concerns. Identify communication needs by talking with students and families and asking lots of questions. Pose open‐ended questions like, “What is your child’s favorite thing about school and why?” They can share the answers during Parent Time, through a weekly folder that goes back and forth between home and school, or over text or email.

Do you have a favorite way to create a welcoming environment in your classroom? Share it in the comments!