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Parents as Partners in Education

 “It takes a village to raise a child”     African proverb

This quote now seems very apt in the light of the current lockdown conditions and restrictions as a result of the global pandemic. It refers to the fact that many people and experiences may contribute to the education and development of your child. This may happen in ways that you may not notice but all helps to shape and build the whole child. Even during this time of pandemic our children have been shaped and influenced, inspired, challenged and motivated.

As Term 3 comes to an end and the school holidays are about to start let’s look at the partnership that we have with our children’s teachers.

A South Australian Government report titled Towards Best Practice in Parent Involvement in Education: noted that

Research suggests that parents do not need to invest a significant amount of time or attain specific knowledge to support their children’s learning. Rather, improved educational outcomes can result from a genuine interest and active engagement from parents.

To be a partner means to be in a collaborative formal or informal arrangement with a shared purpose. If the experience of the last 18 months of home school and in- school programs has taught us anything it is that the education of our children is a shared responsibility. The word education is used here in the holistic sense that encompasses the cognitive, physical, emotional, social, spiritual and moral development of every precious child. Add to that genuine interest in and active engagement with your child’s education, the school and the teachers and a partnership is ready to be nurtured.

Day 1, Term 1 or 2, 3, or 4 is a great time to start building a good strong relationship. Mutual trust and respect underpin the growth of any partnership. Teachers and Educators encourage, support and value parental input and involvement in educational programs. On both parts it takes effort, it takes time. The result is real engagement and an understanding of your child’s learning and wellbeing.

As parents you are vital as your child’s first teachers. It takes great trust to hand over some of this responsibility when your child starts school or changes schools. This is also the opportunity to build a partnership with the school. Share your knowledge about your child, your hopes and dreams, aspirations and family interests. Share also any concerns that you or your child may have. Don’t wait till a problem arises.

Now after almost two years of mixed home and face to face learning it is a great time to tell the teachers about your experiences with home schooling. As partners in education you have witnessed the day to day learning process of your child. You have been vital to the support of and continued progress in each format. Depending on the time you have available you may have valuable insights to share with the class teachers.

  • How did you manage?
  • How did your child manage?
  • Is online learning better or worse for your child than face to face?
  • Did the school support you well?
  • Do you have questions about parts of the curriculum?
  • Did your child feel valued and supported during home schooling?
  • Were the daily instructions clear?
  • Did your child complete tasks?
  • What is your role as a parent?
  • How has the use of video conferencing and IT affected your child’s learning?
  • Which do you prefer -home schooling or face to face? (I know what many of my friends say!)

 

Parents, you have all just survived or thrived while juggling children‘s learning and competing responsibilities. Congratulations. You have done this by being a partner in your child’s education.

Now with the holidays take time to relax and enjoy a change of routine.

Jesse Jackson, a former US politician said “Your children need your presence more than your presents”.

 

 

 

Mary Digges *

MDR Education

Early Childhood Consultant for Angsana Education. 

* Mary Digges is an early childhood teacher, lecturer, trainer, assessor and consultant in education and has long promoted bilingual and multilingual education. Mary has worked in Australia, Singapore and China.

 

References

NSW Education on Parents as Partners

https://education.nsw.gov.au/student-wellbeing/tell-them-from-me/accessing-and-using-tell-them-from-me-data/tell-them-from-me-measures/parent-participation

Raising Children: Schools teachers and parents; building strong relationships

https://raisingchildren.net.au/school-age/school-learning/working-with-schools-teachers/relationship-with-school

The A-Z Parents’ Guide

https://education.nsw.gov.au/parents-and-carers/a-z-parents-guide

South Australian Government paper

https://www.education.sa.gov.au/sites/default/files/towards-best-practice-parent-involvement.pdf?acsf_files_redirect

 

 

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