During the first week of this school year, as a way of introducing the new children to the returning children, we once again had a "Helping Hands" ceremony.
To further kindle a feeling of togetherness among the group, we invited all the children to bring to school a photograph of their family. We sat together at the end of the day and each child introduced their picture and said, at the very least, the names of the people in their family. I took the opportunity also to share about what I feel that family means. We bound the portraits together in a small book and made it available to the children to look at in our book corner. This helped the children get better acquainted with one another, it helped bridge the school and home, and also served as a great language prompt in the book corner.
Later in the week, I invited the older children to take the "Family Book" to a table as a work and make a portrait of their family on large white paper with color pencils.
Last week, we once again discussed the meaning of family and I mentioned that our community at school is like a family. After the discussion, each child took a turn taping small photographs of themselves into the heart we posted at the entrance of the school to symbolize our school family. At the end of the exercise, we noticed that we have a large school family, and that we are fortunate to have one another for friendship and assistance.