It’s never too early to start engaging families! While it may seem daunting at times, there are small steps that can start the process. Family engagement begins with building a relationship. One easy way to begin that relationship is to invite your families to share their family story. All families have stories—stories that make their family unique. No two families are the same, and no two stories are the same! Children need to know the stories of their family. Children’s author Anthony Sacre explains why we need to hear those tales.

In addition to being fun, there is research that supports the importance of family narratives. In the article “The Family Stories That Bind,” Dr. Duke, Emory University says, “The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative.”

Invite your families to come in and share their family story. Even older children enjoy having a family member come and share. There is no right or wrong way; it’s their story. Letting parents know we care and that we want to hear from them is a great way to build that relationship.

In “Engaging Diverse Families: Two Principals Share Their Stories,” Peter Moran of Glenallan Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Katie Charner-Laird of Cambridgeport School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, talk about family engagement at their respective elementary schools. As principals, they share the stories of successes and challenges they have had engaging families.