With the support of Sharyn Skrtic, our PYP Coordinator, we delivered three parent planning workshops this fall. During the first session, the ten parents that could attend learned about the criteria for central ideas and had a go at writing central ideas. We later finalized the central idea for the current unit based on the parents work. During the second session, post-its from brainstorming and draft central ideas from the previous session were used to write lines of inquiry and teacher questions.
In the final session, we checked in with parents on how the unit was proceeding and planned further to develop how we would be individualizing the learning experiences for the children.
Parent planning has been an extremely positive experience! When we shared about our parent planning with our peers, they were consistently surprised. Many colleagues wondered how many parents we were working with, and others commented that they find it challenging enough to collaborate with other educators.
We found that including parents into our planning process has energized and improved our planning, teaching and learning. Parents have shared that they now have a better understanding of the Transdisciplinary Themes, central ideas, and subject integration. As educators, this process has helped us reinvent a unit, dedicate the time to reflect on what and why we are teaching this unit. In addition, it provided a rich opportunity to draw on the knowledge of our parent community, and strengthen connections between the learning happening at home and school.
As a result we have also entered into dialogue about parent planning with educators around the world through our professional learning networks over Twitter. We believe that including parents in planning for one or more units in a year is a sustainable way for us to move learning forward for our school community.