The Ripple Effect – Family and Community Engagement In Linking
06 July, 2023
The positive impact of linking classes together goes far beyond the classroom. Research has shown that a ripple effect can take with families and children having bidirectional impact on one another. Connections are made, fears are reduced and social cohesion increased.
Our schools linking programme seeks to engage with families at every stage of the process through letters, assemblies and home learning activities. By taking part in these, there are opportunities for children to share their learning with their families so that they too can be a part of the linking journey.
In addition to these opportunities, some individual areas actively encourage family and community engagement through a range of ways.
In Kirklees, not only do pairs of classes link together, but they also have the opportunity to get to know people from a diverse range of backgrounds who have sought refuge in the local area. These volunteer guests share their story with the children as part of the powerful ‘Carry My Story’ year-long programme. Through this process, in addition to their listening skills, the children develop their ability to empathise, respect and to challenge any preconceptions they may have had.
Having listened to their guests’ stories, the children then take on the responsibility to share them via a performance at the end of year celebration event. There are often emotional moments as they see their stories being movingly retold by the children, with whom they have developed a real bond.
The linking classes also perform one of the stories shared by their linking class, gathered via family events. All the while, connections, relationships, understanding and respect are being developed between the schools and the wider community.
In Pendle, linking children and their parents are invited to take part in the annual Pendle Festival of Culture. The linking pairs of classes have the opportunity to attend dance workshops together in the run up to the summer event where they then perform to their proud parents, the Mayor and the local community.
In Oldham, pairs of linking classes create banners together which are then displayed at the Oldham Gallery, allowing parents and the local community to learn about their linking journey.
The impact of Schools Linking can be wide and profound. Through the simple process of two classes making a connection and exploring the questions Who am I?, Who are we?, Where do we live? and How do we live well together?, that ripple effect can be felt far beyond the school gates.