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Guest post by Joe Mazza

Engaging Grandparents & Family Friends in Our Schools

Every child’s “home” is different. When I was growing up in the early 1980s in a middle class suburb of Philadelphia, I remember seeing my grandparents several times per week, and even spent weeks at a time with them. My grandparents were instrumental in supporting my parents in their childcare needs while they worked to give my brother and I what we needed and more as children. I learned many things from them including the how to enjoy myself on vacation, how to camp and fish – life skills I hope to instill in my own children and grandchildren.

Last summer, EdWeek’s Sarah Sparks wrote a piece that shed light on a growing trend of grandparents as the main parents for more and more children.

Today, some 7.8 million children live with at least one grandparent in the household as of 2009, up from 4.7 million in 1991, a 64 percent jump, and such children make up a larger share of the population as well. Grandparents are the most common child-care providers for families after parents, particularly for young children. The Census Bureau also found the average time children spent in their grandparents’ care also increased, from 13 hours a week in 2005 to 14 to 16 hours per week in 2006.

With different-looking “homes” from family to family, as parents and teachers we must continue to differentiate for these differences, and meet other parents AND grandparents where they are.

Join us this Wednesday, July 18th 9PM EDT / 6PM PST for Parent-Teacher Chat #ptchat as we dig deeper into these trends and provide strategies and resources for schools and parent groups in meeting these challenges.

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