Should schools aim to be paperless when communicating with parents?
In a drive to be eco-friendly, many schools only send messages electronically. This makes sense and “I get it”. But emails and text messages can get missed and easily forgotten so there is still a place for newsletters, messages and important information.
And that place is on the fridge, the focal point of any home, the informal message centre of all family operations. This is the primary display unit of the house, a living bulletin-board of essential information that organises us.
Communication between home and school is one of those eternal absolutes that will always be “crucial” and although technology works well for certain messages, it doesn’t for others.
Letters, lists, calendar events and important messages get posted on a fridge door because this is a place that gets a lot of traffic and attention.
Sometimes what’s on the outside of a fridge is more important than what’s on the inside!
Apart from photos, artwork, invitations, and magnet messages, the fridge is where lots of schools stuff finds a home and it’s there for all to see. The fridge documents our lives and keeps us on track and acts as a giant Post-it. Messages on a fridge are far more likely to stick in our minds than buried in a pile of emails somewhere.
The fridge is an important communication tool that we can overlook by going paper-less. This big metallic surface in the centre of our homes is message central and we should remember that it works as an information and entertainment centre because it is simple. Fridge manufacturers know this too.
So yes, I understand that going paperless helps us reduce waste for a more sustainable school, it cuts school costs, it saves time for school staff, it improves organisation and improves document security but parents can print off what they need to know and stick it on the fridge safe in the knowledge that it’s going to get seen multiple times during the day.
Paperless isn’t really something we can aim for in a school. The choice isn’t paper or no paper as this is a false dichotomy – the best solution is both.