Tips for School Councils: Create an Inclusive Welcome

Tips for School Councils: Create an Inclusive Welcome
Posted on 11/17/2023

The Ministry of Education has created 25 helpful tips for School Councils on involving parents in the school. This month, we’re sharing tips #3-7, which focus on creating inclusive, welcoming experiences for School Council members and all families. 

Create an inclusive welcome

Some parents may not be comfortable in a school setting. For example, newcomers to Canada may have experienced a very different school setting and may be unfamiliar with the school environment. These tips will help you create a school climate that makes parents feel comfortable and welcome.

Tip 3: Create a school information package - Create a welcoming information package for parents new to the school. Be sure to include information about the school and its programs, the school council and its meetings, key dates and school events and opportunities for parent involvement.

Tip 4: Meet and greet new parents - Work with the principal to find opportunities for council members to meet more parents, and new parents. This might include general information nights or welcome events for new parents, or more focused information sessions, for example, geared to the information needs of parents with children in kindergarten, Grade 8 or Grade 9.

Tip 5: Bring a friend - Encourage council members to invite and bring a new parent to each council meeting to welcome them to the school and the council.

Tip 6: Welcome new members - Make new members feel welcome at council meetings. Take time for introductions at the beginning of the meeting. Ask new members to talk about their children and the grades they are attending.

At the end of the meeting, the Chair or other council members can make a special effort to speak with new members, thanking them for their attendance, asking them if they need any assistance or information, and inviting them to attend the next meeting.

Parents who do not feel welcome are much less likely to return.

Tip 7: Plan a newcomers event - Consider how best to reach out to parents who are new to Canada and the school. Get school families involved in planning a special way to welcome families that might include information about the school, the school system, extracurricular activities, and services and opportunities in the local community.

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