The Home-School Team: An Emphasis on Parent Involvement
Children are able to learn most effectively when the major adults in their life, including their parents, teachers, and other members of their family and community, collaborate to promote and support the child’s educational endeavours. This fundamental truth ought to serve as a guiding concept for us when we think about the structure of schools and the curriculum that should be taught to students. It is impossible for schools to meet all of a child’s developmental requirements on their own; therefore, it is necessary to have meaningful involvement from parents and support from the community.
It would appear to be obvious that schools and families need to work together in close collaboration in order to teach children effectively. Back when life was less complicated, this connection came easily and was simple to nurture. Teachers and parents were frequently in the same neighbourhood, so they had plenty of opportunities to talk about a child’s development. Children understood that it was required of them to maintain the same standards at home as they did at school since they were exposed to the same messages from both their teachers and their parents.
However, as a result of the increasing complexities and pressures of modern society, these relationships have all too frequently been neglected. There is not enough time for teachers and parents to get to know one another and develop cooperative relationships for the benefit of the children in their care. Parents are discouraged from spending time in classrooms in many different areas, and teachers are only expected to interact with family members when a student is having issues that require their attention. As a result, in far too many instances, there is misunderstanding, mistrust, and a lack of respect amongst the parties involved. As a consequence of this, when a child falls behind in school, teachers blame the parents and parents blame the teachers.
At the same time, our culture has established divisions in a manner that is not natural between the roles that should be played by parents and teachers in the growth of children and adolescents. We have a tendency to believe that schools should focus solely on academic instruction, and that parents should be responsible for guiding their children’s intellectual, moral, and emotional growth at home.
Children do not stop learning academics as well as attitudes about learning while they are at home or anywhere else in their community. Nor do they stop learning about values and relationships when they join a classroom. They are continuously paying attention to how the important adults in their lives interact with one another, how choices are taken and how they are carried out, and how problems are solved.
Children gain a sense that someone cares about them, a sense of self-worth and competency, an understanding of the world around them, and beliefs about where they fit into the scheme of things as a result of all of the experiences they have, both in and outside of school. These experiences can be either positive or negative.
In today’s world, cultivating healthy relationships between families and educators can require an unusual amount of work. Schools have a responsibility to reach out to families and ensure that they have a positive experience as full participants in the educational process. In return, families have a responsibility to support their children both at home and at school, which requires them to devote time and effort to the endeavour.
Many communities around the United States, including the ones we work with, are coming to the realisation that the time and energy spent in reestablishing these connections is more than justified in the long run. From what we’ve seen, having significant and meaningful involvement from parents is not only doable but also desirable and helpful in terms of enhancing student development and performance.
A Starting Point
The majority of the communities in which we are involved are located within the city’s inner core, and these communities typically begin with schools and families having rather bad relationships with one another. Many of the parents had their own educational experiences marred by failure, and as a result, they avoid setting foot inside the schools where their children are enrolled. Many teachers have to commute to their jobs, and as a result, they know very little about the community that surrounds the school. It is necessary for families and educators in these areas to first create a mutual sense of trust and respect for one another before they can work together productively to form partnerships.
Even while it may not be as visible, the same thing holds true in areas with a higher level of wealth. The erosion of trust and respect can be observed in the increasing number of parents who opt to teach their children at home or enrol them in private schools, as well as in the growing unwillingness of voters to approve of school bond measures. However, only a small percentage of schools have open-door policies that permit parents to visit their children’s schools at any time. Furthermore, parents who insist on being involved in their children’s education are frequently labelled as being disruptive.
Every community should begin by cultivating environments in which parents and educators can discover that they have a common goal of doing what is in the best interests of the children in their care. We applaud the growing trend to decentralise decision making from central offices to individual schools because it creates opportunities for parents and educators to work together in order to make decisions about school policies and procedures. We applaud this trend because it creates opportunities for parents and educators to work together. It’s possible that some people will see this arrangement as transferring control from the faculty and staff of the school to the parents; nevertheless, what’s actually happening here is a sharing of power. All of the adults who have a vested interest in the growth of the children are given more agency as a result of this.
Parents who take part in the planning and management of their children’s schools have the opportunity to gain an understanding of the educational system from the perspective of its professionals and gain insight into the inner workings of curricular and instructional design. It also gives them the opportunity to teach school staff members about the local community and to show that parents have a lot to contribute if they are given the chance to do so.
Parents, educators, administrators, members of the business community, and other members of the community can work together as full partners to design an educational programme that satisfies the specific needs of the local community and reflects the diversity that exists within a school, all without compromising the high performance expectations and standards. They have the ability to establish a compassionate and sensitive school climate that recognises and responds to the differences as well as the similarities that exist among the pupils.
A Wide Variety of Roles
There are many different ways for parents to get engaged in their children’s schools, in addition to serving on the school board. There are the more conventional approaches, such as encouraging children to do their homework, participating actively in parent-teacher conferences, and attending parent-teacher conferences at their child’s school. Serving as mentors, teacher aides, or lunchroom monitors, as well as providing help to schools and children in a wide variety of other capacities, are examples of other roles that require a greater time commitment.
Families can make a valuable contribution to the educational system at a time when schools are adopting curricula based on real-world problems and information. This can be accomplished in person or through the use of a computer network, and involves sharing first-hand information about work, hobbies, history, and other personal experiences. Parents can simply take the time to go to their children’s schools and observe, learning about what their children and their children’s teachers are doing. This is perhaps the most essential thing that parents can do.
Because of the frenetic nature of today’s life, many parents may feel as though they are unable to participate in activities of this nature. However, there are encouraging signals that it will become more practical in the near future. Employers are beginning to implement policies that enable parents time off to participate on a school’s planning and management team or to donate time at regular intervals because of concern for the quality of the future workforce. These policies also allow parents to volunteer their time at schools. Additionally, an increasing number of schools are providing either preschool or day care, which makes it simpler for parents who also have younger children to visit schools where their older children are enrolled.
This level of parent involvement in schools enables parents and staff to collaborate in ways that are courteous to one another and mutually supportive. This helps to create an atmosphere in which understanding, trust, and respect can thrive. During this period, students are hearing consistent messages from the people who hold significant roles in their life. When children see that their homes and schools are working together in a collaborative manner for their benefit, it is more likely that they will develop more positive attitudes about school and achieve more than they would in situations in which their homes and schools are portrayed as being on opposite sides of the globe from one another.
Better Lines of Communication
It is essential for parents and teachers to communicate well with one another, and this is true regardless of the degree to which a parent is directly involved in the activities of their child’s school. Each possesses information that contributes to the overall picture of a child’s growth, and the sharing of that information can help each contribute more effectively. Constant communication helps guarantee that schools and parents are sensitive to the individual requirements of pupils, which in turn supports children’s overall development and benefits their overall development.
A portion of this interaction ought to take place in person, either at the school, at home, at the place of employment of a parent, or at another location that is convenient. It must be recognised as an essential component of education, and sufficient time must be allotted during regular school staff working hours for teachers and administrators to carry it out. At the same time, it is necessary to acknowledge that communication is an essential component of parenting, and parents should make it a priority to schedule regular meetings with the educators of their children.
Because of advancements in technology, it is now possible for teachers and parents to form stronger bonds of mutual support than ever before. Computer networks can connect homes and schools, enabling individuals in both settings to freely exchange information twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year using means such as electronic mail and online discussion forums.
It is not hard to imagine a time in the not-too-distant future when all parents will be able to quickly call up information such as a student’s schedule for the week, current assignments, and suggestions from teachers about what they can do to support learning goals at home. This time will come in the not-too-distant future. They will be able to examine real examples of the child’s coursework that have been compiled into an electronic portfolio in order to gain insight into what the child has been up to recently.
Some schools, in collaboration with local companies and other community organisations, have established computer loan programmes for local families in order to ensure that everyone, regardless of money or other factors, has equitable access to the same kinds of electronic tools. It is recommended that comparable programmes be established at each and every school. In addition, the necessary computers should be made accessible to parents in a variety of public settings, such as schools, libraries, and government buildings. Additionally, there should be classes that are either free or offered at a reduced cost to teach educators and parents how to use the computers to facilitate learning.
A further encouraging trend that we’ve observed is that an increasing number of schools are widening their mission to provide educational services for the entirety of their community. The building of computer networks that link homes and schools fits in rather nicely with this development.
Learning throughout one’s entire life is increasingly seen as necessary for achievement in today’s competitive society. Parents and other members of the community have the option of either attending lessons at a school or studying at home utilising technologies that enable distance learning. The content for these sessions can be provided by their local school or by a school located further away. By participating in these networks, parents are able to not only further their own education but also illustrate to their children the importance of continuing their own educational pursuits even into adulthood.
However, the children are the ones who benefit the most from this. When we come into a school and find parents and teachers working together, in a variety of positions, it is a sure sign that the school pushes pupils to be the very best that they can be and assists all individuals, regardless of race, class, or culture, in realising their maximum potential.