One of the challenges that many schools have faced is sustaining positive parent interactions and coming together as a school community whilst potentially restricting adult access to the school buildings during the pandemic.

As we adjust to new ways of working, this essential, important aspect of school life has been the hardest to replicate. This term, a moment of joy and connection has taken place in our close-knit Junior School community with an innovative solution to this problem. We have implemented a simple yet highly engaging event that we are calling Family Friday.

What is Family Friday? 

Utilising a covered platform area at the playground entrance to the school, we now have an impromptu outdoor performance zone. So far, we have had three successful events against the wind and weather. The Family Fridays have included musical performances from an informal staff band, small games with tented cover against the rain, and student performances of spoken word, song, and music. During the sessions, hot drinks and traditional Dutch and English snacks were served. It has been a true recipe for success and joy!

It has been an absolute joy to brave the weather and see the children share their songs and use drums, voices and violins

BSN Student during a Family Visit to Junior School Leidschenveen

The Impact of Bringing the Community Together

Our parents have been able to reconnect and re-join the school community safely. Staff have been able to celebrate our student talents beyond the classroom. This focused half hour at the end of the school week has had an uplifting, powerful impact with laughter and love, which has renewed the atmosphere of parent events in the past really effectively.

Another benefit has been the ingenuity of the various people involved! Our site team set up musical equipment, sound systems, and pop-up gazebo tents to create shelter. Staff showcased their performance skills and shared hot drinks and snacks. It’s been great to see the Headteacher on piano and the Music Department on saxophone while our Year 6 teacher shares her jazz vocals.

A Chance to Share, Connect and Celebrate 

It has been an absolute joy to brave the weather and see a child share their songs and use drums, voices, and violins. The musicians and performers in our community now have a safe space to perform and be brave. There is time to catch up and be socially connected at a safe distance in the fresh Dutch air. There are smiling faces everywhere, even when we need umbrellas, to provide a giant round of applause for the child who steps up in front of this friendly, enthusiastic audience.

We hope to continue using this format to host our families across the whole year as an opportunity to bring people together.

A version of this article first appeared on School Rubric.

Liz Jones

Liz is an international educator and teacher with thirty years of experience and a passion for learning. Liz wears many hats at the BSN: she leads Learning Technology and is the Induction Lead for the International leadership Academy, responsible for supporting new staff at all BSN campuses. She is Forest School Level 3 qualified and involved with Environmental initiatives.

Liz and her husband keep bees as a hobby and have shared these skills with the BSN campuses for about six years.

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