A few times a year, the teachers at LCP work together to plan an “Open Door Day” for families – a day in which family members are invited to be part of classroom activities.
These events are organized around a specific topic – often an area of learning in which families have recently expressed an interest. In this model, each classroom is set up with activities that relate to the learning area under consideration. Signs are available for families to read about possible questions to ask and/or things to look for as they play with the children, and samples of children’s work are on display.
In addition to this classroom time, a brief discussion is planned for families to participate in as they arrive. While this discussion is in progress, children have a chance to start their morning using their typical beginning of day “rituals”. Families are oriented to the topic under consideration, and have an opportunity to ask any questions they may have. We also set up documentation in our shared hallways featuring children’s work and projects. By mid-morning family members begin to say their goodbyes. Handouts are placed in all the children’s cubbies so that the whole community shares information, even if family members didn’t have the opportunity to stay and play.
Our first “Open Door Day” this year was centered around prewriting. The goal of this Open Door was to highlight the complexity of the writing process: the values of child-led experiences with writing, some of the many diverse ways to support the physical development necessary for writing – including sensory play, and fine motor activities – that do not require writing tools or table work. Before the Open Day, we invited children to “write a message” for their family members to see when they came to school. These were then posted to our hallway display. We always prepare the children for the reality that not everyone will be able to come or stay for the whole time, and invite children to re-visit displays and experiences with their family members when they arrive or leave school over the next few weeks.
We hope you’ll take a look at these photos from our recent Prewriting and Fine Motor Development Open Door Day.