Connecting with students’ families is an important part of creating a strong school community. And by family we mean the people who are most important in your students’ lives. Whether that’s the traditional definition of mom and dad, or one mom, or two dads, or grandma or grandpa, or a very loving caregiver.
Sponsoring events, like Muffins with Mom or Donuts with Dad, that bring people in and build community is a great idea. But sometimes, without realizing it, we put labels on events that may put some people off. The last thing we would ever want to do is exclude those kids whose family may not be considered traditional.
Here are a few tips that will help you be more conscious of your verbiage and make sure your community events are welcoming and successful for everyone.
Don’t limit invitations to a certain gender or specific relationship.
It’s not really necessary to designate an event for moms only or dads only, etc.. What’s important is for students to be able to include someone they care about in a special school event. With that in mind, here are a few substitutions that would make anyone feel welcome, along with a few examples of events.
- Buddy: Breakfast with Buddies, Bagels with Buddies
- Caregiver: Cupcakes with Caregivers, Cookies with Those Who Care
- Dear One: Donuts with Dear Ones
- Family: Family Feast, Family Fiesta
- Favorite: French Toast with Your Favorites
- Grownup: Donuts with Grownups
- Guardian: Goodies with Guardians
- Loved One: Lunch with Loved Ones
- Pal: Pancakes with Pals, Picnic with Pals
- Parent: Pastries with Parents, Pancakes with Parents
- Peeps: Pizza with Your Peeps, Popcorn with Your Peeps
- Special Guest: Special Treats with Special Guests
- Someone Special: KISS: Kids Invite Someone Special
- VIP: VIP Day, VIP Breakfast
Keep it simple.
Why even designate who can or cannot attend? Just give your event a snappy name and tell kids how many people they can invite. You might be surprised by the diversity of people in your students’ circle of care. Because after all, building a supportive community is what it’s all about, right?
- Muffins in the Morning
- Donut Date
- Breakfast Club
- Coffee and Conversations
- Morning Mug
- Pancakes and Pajamas
Let your school mascot serve as host.
Someone put a lot of effort into coming up with that cute name for your student body. Show your school pride by sponsoring an event that includes the name. For example, Breakfast with Bulldogs, Pancakes with Pumas, or Coffee with Cougars.
The simplest way to avoid confusion or unintentionally exclude some people is to simply call your event what it is. Sure, it’s flashier to come up with a social media–worthy title, but what’s the real goal here? To build community and make students and the people who are important to them feel welcome.
Some examples: Ice Cream Social, Game Night, Math Night, Science Night, Talent Show, School Picnic, Open Mic Night, etc.
For more fun ideas for school/community events, check out this list from PTO Today .
And set the tone for inclusion and community in your school with this free welcome poster .
How are you making sure your school is inclusive? Share with us in our Principal Life Facebook group.