September, 2014
Building Connections with
Grandparents and Parents

Grandparents’ Day is officially September 7th, although many schools celebrate it at different times throughout the year. One of my fondest memories was the special party we gave for our grandparents each year. After twenty years I can still clearly recall a grandmother thanking me and saying, "Now when I think of Kristy I can see her in this happy place."

I always involved the children in making the snack, decorations, and nametags. I would also let them choose the songs and dances they wanted to perform for their grandparents. (Of course, “Tooty Ta" was always at the top of the list, and we asked the grandparents to join along!)  The children drew pictures of their grandparents and then we played a guessing game trying to match up drawings with the grandparents. 

Hint!  Children who don’t have grandparents can invite a neighbor or friend.  You could also let a school helper “adopt” children for the day and be their pretend grandparent.

Here’s a free download for a song my daughter wrote.  Better get the Kleenex handy because it will bring tears to your eyes!

Grandparents’ Day - 1st Sunday after Labor Day
(Tune:  “Simple Gifts”)

Grandma and Grandpa we just want to say
How much we love you on this special day.
With smiles and kisses and bear hugs, too
We want to say thanks for all that you do!
You make us feel like superstars!
You help us to see how wonderful we are.
The love and the time that you have shared
Will stay with us always and everywhere!
We play games together, we go for walks
We go out fishing or just sit and talk
We read books together and have so much fun!
Every moment with you is a special one.
You make us feel like superstars!
You help us to see how wonderful we are.
The love and the time that you have shared
Will stay with us always and everywhere!

Click here to download the vocal and the instrumental versions.  If you sing this at a program, you can use the instrumental arrangement.

Family Connections

This month will highlight some of the previous activities I’ve shared on my website for involving families.  The National Coalition for Parent Involvement for Education reports that when schools and families work together, everyone benefits.

• Students have higher grades, graduation rates, and
• Decreased use of drugs and alcohol, lower rates of       
    suspension, and fewer instances of violent behavior.
• Parents feel empowered.
• Teacher morale is more positive.
• Schools improve.
• Communities grow stronger.

A study by the Michigan Department of Education reported that parents’ participation in their child’s education was twice as predictive of students’ academic success as family socioeconomic status.

It takes a village to raise a child – a “village” of parents, grandparents, teachers, relatives, friends, neighbors, and a myriad of others.  Although you may have some parents who do not choose to participate, you have to TRY.  Open the door, give them tools and resources, and if one parent sings a song, reads a book, or engages with their child because of you - it’s a good thing!

Part One:  Free downloads for monthly activity calendars, reading calendars, and recipes for fun

Part Two:  Resource of engaging activities to strengthen the bridge between the school and home.   Check out lunchbox homework, book buddy bags, The Proud Parent, My Good Book, and more.
Part Three:  Ideas to improve communication, encourage volunteers, and have successful conferences

Part Four:  Spanish Translations and other downloads

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