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The Family Room

The Family Room

The Family Room


Research has shown there to be many benefits when parents are involved in their children’s education, yet schools consistently struggle with parent engagement.

Parent involvement typically declines as students grow older, and there is a significant drop in involvement between elementary and secondary school. This can be for many reasons, such as parents lacking the time, resources, or know-how to help out; it can also be because they do not feel welcomed at school or feel there’s a place for them.

Compounding the parent engagement problem is the limited emphasis schools have traditionally paid to support the social and emotional needs of students. High-stakes testing and a one-sided emphasis on academics add stress for students, and often the physical environment reflects this.

Research shows that promoting social and emotional development in children is the missing piece in efforts to reach the array of goals associated with improving schooling. Success outside of school also depends on SEL. Social and emotional learning can be effectively developed in partnership with parents and the community.


There are many ways to leverage this research. You can dedicate a space for parents, guardians, grandparents, and other mentors to be at the school. Oftentimes more relaxed, informal spaces are conducive to social interactions between students, teachers, and parents.

Connections to outdoor spaces and food can be another element of a thriving Family Room. In addition to physical space, consider creative ways to provide opportunities for parents and community members to be in the school supporting the needs of kids.

Related Patterns Indoor-Outdoor Connections, Neighborhood as School, Calming Retreat

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