Children spend most of their waking hours at school. However, many parents feel alienated and uninformed about their child’s school life.
This should be of concern to schools, as studies show that parents who are involved in school life are more likely to be supportive of their child’s education and have better relationships with teachers. Parents also benefit from being part of a supportive community of like-minded people and finding their identity within the school. Teachers benefit from the extra support; and parent involvement also reinforces the importance of learning and development in a child.
Win, win, win.
Is your school putting in enough effort to include parents?
The key influencing predictor to parent support of their child’s learning is not parent or child behaviour or attitudes, but the school’s behaviour and attitudes. When parents feel that the school is actively pursuing to involve them, they generally respond by becoming more involved in their child’s education.
Does your school have the right attitude to involving parents? Does it have an accommodating organisational structure? Are you using effective communication methodologies with parents?
It is the school’s role to help parents feel welcome and to find a place in the school network where they feel valued and will make a positive impact.
However, even though some parents want to play a part in their child’s school life, they just don’t know how to make a contribution.
There are many different roles for parents to play that they may not be aware of.
This is where strong communication is essential.
Clear, effective communication between the school and parents will help keep them informed of opportunities to contribute to the school and feel like the school really wants them to be a part of the community.
If cost and time consumption of regular communication to parents is a barrier, there are many technology alternatives to traditional expensive letters, phone calls and paper notices.
Instant messaging apps, SMS integrated email and mass text messaging systems are popular low cost communication options that schools across New Zealand are utilising to keep parents in the loop about school involvement opportunities.