When it comes to schools, the spotlight is almost always placed on teachers and principals as the main actors in a child’s success. And, while educators have a vital role to play, the entire school community contributes to the success of our students - with parental involvement being a major factor in a child’s achievement.
“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.”
– Jane D. Hull, former politician and educator
Research shows that the effect of a parent’s engagement on their child’s learning is almost 6 times as much as the effect of schools. On top of this, studies have proven that when parents are involved in their child’s education, students tend to have more positive attitudes and behaviour, and achieve more overall, regardless of their socio-economic status or ethnic background.
Here, we share three reasons why engaging parents in schools is essential to nurture and develop our students – along with stories of how today’s teachers are championing positive parent and teacher relationships!
Why should parents be involved in their child’s education?
Whether it’s attending broader school community meetings, volunteering their time for events, or being active across a school’s digital platform, there are many reasons why parental involvement has such a positive effect on a child’s achievement.
1. Parents equip children with foundational attitudes to learning.
Regardless of socioeconomic status, education, or racial backgrounds, parents are crucial when it comes to establishing a child’s attitude to learning.
“It’s what a parent does, not who they are” which makes the biggest impact. – Professor Charles Desforges
In other words, actions speak louder than words, and it’s through actions that parents equip their children with foundational attitudes to learning.
Children with positive attitudes towards learning see it as a natural and engaging process, creating a lifelong curiosity for knowledge, and a proactive approach. Students with positive attitudes have less stress and more creative problem-solving skills, and also contribute to an overall positive atmosphere in the broader school community.
Parents can help build this attitude from a young age through simple actions, from reading picture books with toddlers and primary students, to asking what they enjoyed or learned at school that day.
“A lot of children establish positive a relationship with teachers if they know they have the support from home . As a result, they are generally better learners because they are happier. A trusting relationship between teachers and parents helps children progress a lot faster.”
- Erin Newton, teacher in Albury
2. Collaboration between parents and teachers ensures a cohesive learning experience.
Not only do engaged parents benefit students - they also bring positive effects to the broader school community. Parents who take a collective responsibility in their child’s education can keep track of school activities, and work with teachers to ensure that schoolwork is completed and that their child is getting the most out of their class time, and any extracurricular opportunities.
Parents who collaborate productively and positively with teachers can also impact a teacher’s job satisfaction and self-perception, giving them a greater sense of contribution. Whether it’s through encouraging dialogue in parent-teacher meetings, or contribution at general meetings, more collaboration between parents and teachers helps create a positive atmosphere and an inclusive school environment.
Collaboration between parents and teachers can come in many forms, from sharing video feeds of lessons, to launching blogs where the community can exchange ideas and thoughts.
“At our school we run the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program which relies on parent involvement to run and continue in the school. The program requires parent helpers during each class lesson in the kitchen.
The students really enjoy having a parent or a grandparent come into school to help out and show their excitement for the things that their kids is learning. If we didn’t have parent involvement in this program, the students would miss out and not gain the skills that it teaches.”
– Georgie Pritchard, Teacher at Bondi Public School
3. Parents invested in their child’s education means any problems are identified and addressed earlier.
Every child is different, and so is their education journey. With any journey, there will be challenges - and these are most easily and quickly identified when there is engagement from parents, and clear communication between the parents and teachers.
Parents who are actively involved in their child’s learning can keep an eye on schoolwork, understand any challenges they experience going through subjects, and will notice unusual patterns or behaviours far more quickly than those who don’t.
Plus, students with engaged parents tend to get more attention from teachers as they are more likely to communicate on any challenges which they are facing, and work together to come up with solutions to help overcome these.
Over to you
With a community of engaged parents and teachers, students are set to thrive.
However, it’s also important for schools to have the tools in place to communicate on a regular basis to parents, and allow them to actively stay engaged in their child’s learning and development.
Does your school have the tools to establish and streamline a system of clear communication?