Longer working hours….
Parents these days are faced with the challenge of finding spare time to be actively involved in their child’s education. As a school administrator you can easily detect dwindling levels of parental involvement with obvious signs such as the low parent turn out at parent-teacher meetings and other school events, and subtle signs such as homework not being done and low student attendance rates. In an ideal situation, there is active and constant parent involvement where parents help with homework, contribute at school meetings, and communicate regularly with the school.
In this article we cover the immense benefits of parental involvement and steps you can take today to get parents more involved in school.
Benefits of Parent Involvement
Parental involvement is a win-win situation for everyone –students, teachers and parents themselves. Students’ scholarly achievement improves as parents are more attentive to their wards ensuring homework is completed on time and accurately, further study is carried out at home as well as supplementary guidance and counseling. These students get better grades, pay more attention in the classroom and have a clearer understanding of the direction their education is taking them towards the development of their career and future.
Teachers communicate better with parents who are actively involved and partner with these parents in the successful development of the child. Unusual behaviors, commendable actions and other matters relating to the child’s welfare are communicated swiftly between both parties for any necessary action to be taken.
Parents have a better understanding of school objectives and are able to develop meaningful relationships with teachers and administrative staff. They also gain insight into the school curriculum, school activities and supplementary programs offered by the school and available to their children.
How to Get Parents Involved
It is important to maintain the flow of information between your school, teachers and the parents. The amount of effort put into disseminating information to the parents must also be directed at receiving and processing feedback from these parents. Parents that perceive that their opinions are actively being solicited and employed are more eager and likely to be actively involved in school affairs. So what means of communication can you adopt? Emails, newsletters and forums are some of the most convenient and effective means of communication for both parties – school and parent.
Information regarding the individual child’s behavior, grades and overall performance can be communicated promptly to the parents via email where the parent is able to review and respond within minutes. Newsletters can contain relevant information regarding upcoming school activities, special teaching practices and curriculum information, thereby keeping the parents abreast of all that is going on within the school premises. Forums can be online on the school’s website portal, mobile on the school’s official WhatsApp group or offline through meetings and events; all these avenues create a friendly and open ground for parents, teachers and administrative staff to openly discuss matters and receive feedback in real-time.
Involve Parents in the Classroom
Get students and parents excited about involvement through direct interactions in the classrooms. Schools that report high levels of parent involvement have achieved this by arranging special programs that require parent’s presence in the classroom. You can replicate these programs by organizing career days where each parent prepares a brief presentation to their child’s class about what they do and the steps they took with their education to achieve their current positions, and possibly offer short consultation time after the presentation for students that have similar aspirations. Another special program can be culture days where students and parents adorn themselves in their cultural attires and educate the class about their traditions, practices and history. Parents can also be encouraged to go the extra mile by preparing snacks of their local delicacies to be shared amongst the students.
With school activities and programs scheduled round the clock, it is easy to create volunteering opportunities for parents in multiple areas that could get them excited about getting involved in school activities. School events such as end-of-year parties are a hotbed of volunteering opportunities where parents can volunteer as event hosts, coordinators, servers, security and more. This laid back scene allows the parents to interact socially with each other as well as have an overview of the ecosystem in which their child is groomed. They get to meet their child’s school mates and observe their social skills and behavior. Parents can also volunteer to manage sporting events within the school, where they can take on the supervisory role of coordinator or a more active role of referee or coach. Other volunteering opportunities include attending and supervising field trips, directing drama clubs and much more. Volunteering helps form a bond between the students, parents and teachers where a more communal relationship is developed.
Parents are the most important players in the holistic development of a child and schools can benefit immensely from their direct and indirect support. Schools should ensure that significant amount of effort and resources are committed to the creation of productive, meaningful and sustainable relationships with the parents.
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