Calling All Families

By Lars Gustafson, Teacher

Parents are always welcome to schedule time to visit Bing, but in the spring quarter of 2009 the teachers in West, Center and East afternoon classrooms offered a specific invitation to parents and extended family. The goal was to remind families of their importance in the Bing community, and to offer a classroom activity in which they could participate. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

The week of May 4th was Dads, Grandfathers & Uncles Week, and the week of May 26th was Moms, Grandmothers & Aunts Week. Families were encouraged to share their interests or to come in and simply spend time with the children. The activities were numerous and diverse: Some parents spent an afternoon coaching organized sports like soccer, golf, basketball and even broom hockey; another parent led yoga and breathing exercises during music and movement time; musical family members performed with the children playing along on instruments; several fathers designed a scavenger hunt, engaging the children for hours; other family members led paper airplane folding and flying, cake baking, microscope viewing and tent building. One father even led a Mother’s Day card-making activity.

One child’s grandfather brought in his toolbox. He removed the wheels from the wooden carts and enlisted the children’s help in oiling and reattaching them. Later that week the child said to a teacher, “My grandfather said those carts are really well made. It was really hard to get the wheels off, but we did it.” Clearly this experience made a lasting impression on this child.

Not all family members were able to take the whole afternoon off from work. Some came for 30 minutes during snack time and read books aloud. Others lingered longer than usual when bringing their children to school or when picking them up. No matter how much time they spent or how much planning was involved, these were special times for families. The children’s wide grins illustrated their excitement in sharing their grown-ups with their classmates, and the adults wore smiles that were just as wide, if not wider.