As “ambassadors” of our school’s culture, we can look within our school community to seek out members from different groups, identifying skills, knowledge, talents and abilities that will contribute in some way to our goal of building a safe and inclusive school culture.
A parent or caregiver can be a resource person in helping us to deal with a specific situation. When we find ourselves using the same consequence over and over, this indicates that it is not working and it may be time to try something different. A parent or caregiver can contribute to our effort to develop a variety of responses that will facilitate learning rather than punishment. (See Problem Solving.)
Parents and caregivers with relevant expertise or experiences from the community or the workplace can be invited to share these at school events or in the classroom. For example, parents and caregivers who have experience or knowledge related to discrimination or bullying in the workplace can help make the connection between the school and the larger society. Parents or caregivers can share information about their ethnocultural origins or their country of origin, reminding the school community about the wider world in which we live and the importance of respecting differences.
When we see parents and caregivers as potential resource people, we tap into the pool of knowledge, skills and experiences within our own school community. This helps to build bridges between home and school, enlivening and enriching the safe and inclusive culture we are striving to develop.
An elementary school was organizing a play about bullying. They asked parents and caregivers what skills they could contribute. By asking this open ended questions, they were able to learn about the wide range of skills and expertise to be found within this group. As a result, parents and caregivers felt more connected to the event and the school.