It’s always a good policy to keep the door open for parents so they can ask questions and get involved in their kids’ education. This is especially true when it comes to character education, an area in which you ideally share responsibility with families in fostering hardworking, respectful critical thinkers and friends. You can get parents onboard with your character education program by remembering these helpful dos and don’ts:
DO keep families informed. Send home materials explaining your character education program and inviting parents to an open house or information session, if applicable. On your school website, post the goals of your character education program and links to research supporting character education in the classroom.
DON’T forget that some parents may view character education as “their” job. These families may be sensitive to the idea that the school is trying to instill certain morals or values in their children. You can put these parents at ease by acknowledging their primary role in character education, while outlining the traits you see as key to building school community.
DO ask families to participate in your character education program, through projects, discussion and volunteer opportunities. You might have families create posters sharing their definitions of certain character traits, for example. Or you might ask parent volunteers to share how qualities such as respect and loyalty play into their lives and careers.
DON’T make assumptions about the character education students are receiving at home (or your perceived lack thereof). Many challenging kids come from loving, supportive homes and vice versa—your focus should be on the qualities that will help children become better students and community members.
DO acknowledge familial and cultural differences throughout your character education program. Diversity and tolerance of others should be a centerpiece of your work with students and parents alike. Consider hosting a Diversity Day where families can share more about and celebrate their backgrounds.
Question for you: How do you get parents involved in your character education program?