Parents and educational institutions play a very important role in grooming a child. While a child spends most of his growing years in school, he picks up habits and life skills from home too. Studies show that parental involvement in a child's education is one of the most important factors in raising student self-esteem & academic achievement. Moreover, most experts agree that parental involvement should go beyond attendance at teacher conferences and open house.
I’ve been an advocate for parental involvement in education for many years and have incorporated the same in our schools. When parents get involved in the teaching process their children learn faster. Children are learning on the go without even knowing. I encourage parents to give their children activities on their visit to the mall, or while travelling etc. All parents need to do is prepare an activity sheet and make the activity fun.
I have noticed that parents are enthusiastic and involved in the early years of learning, however overtime they take a back seat. Learning is a lifelong process and parents need to be involved at least till the primary grades. Once the Habit of minds have been inculcated and a foundation laid, children will thrive.
It is important for schools to work out a program where parents can opt to choose the activities they could support in. It needs to be by choice. However one thing to remember is that each of our family is unique – with its own priorities, needs, talents, and time constraints - and so, here are a few ways in which parents can get involved:
- Parents can volunteer in administration work – a school has a whole load of admin work and are always short of hands to help and parents can step in and assist the school.
- Parents can opt to manage the Library – Managing the library is a big task and parents can get involved in the same. Parents can have a special reading session with children.
- Parents can take Special Subjects – In the age of technology, it is important to introduce children to subjects or careers like marketing, interior designers etc. Parents who specialize in a particular class can take children through what their job entails and what is it that they exactly do. For eg in our schools we have parents come and interact with our preschool children about their jobs or businesses.
- Parents can be part of the curriculum designing team – these days a lot of private schools have taken education beyond rote learning and they have created an interactive and integrated curriculum where children learn various subjects with just one topic. For eg.when we do Charlie and the Chocolate Factory they learn about chocolates, different places where cocoa is grown, they create a business plan etc. So parents with a BEd degree can opt to become curriculum designers.
- Create a parents' period where parents take a class – Preschools can have a special period for parents where the parent chooses a topic from their syllabus to teach.
- Handling event for the school – All through the year schools have various events like sports day, annual day etc. Parents can opt to volunteer in organizing the event with the school.
Here’s to more and more parents collaborating with their children’s school and helping them in their learning process.