4 Mar 2015

Here's a thought: How can you encourage parents to support their children’s learning?

Welcome to my thoughts. There is alot of talk and extensive research about parent engagement and often there is some confusion about what this actually means and how to implement this as part of your school culture. 

It got me thinking.....

How are you providing opportunities for parents to be engaged with their children’s learning and how can you educate them on the importance of their supportive role for their child throughout their entire education, not just in the early years? 

1. Encourage families to set the scene for learning at home. Providing an environment that encourages conversations around learning, time and space to complete homework or read and most importantly, time for listening and being present for their child. 
To improve the opportunities for this, parents need to be further informed about what children are learning at school so they can have more meaningful conversations and understand what is happening in their world.

2. Provide information about what the children are learning in maths, inquiry, literacy etc and give examples of how the skills they are learning could be applied at home. 
Many parents ask their children how their day at school went and often ask the question, “What did you learn today?”. 
If they were equipped with more information they could instead ask, “What did you see on your excursion to Scienceworks today?”. 
If the question is related directly to the subject children are more likely to respond in enthusiastic conversation rather than “I don’t know” or “Not much”.

3. Encourage parents to link what children are learning at school with their home life and also demonstrate what they are learning through their outside school activities. An example may be if a child is playing sport they are learning teamwork, resilience, physical skills, maths, listening, understanding, grasping concepts and following rules which are all important life skills.  Having conversations around these provides children with further understanding of their own world and what they are learning while having fun.

4. Encourage parents to share stories of their own learning experiences in a positive way so children know that there are possibilities and opportunities when you focus and commit to learning. There are also challenges along the way that can be overcome. Encourage parents to share their own work experiences and what skills they use in their job to provide connections between learning at school and how it is applied in the adult world. 

5. Provide learning opportunities both at school and at home to encourage parents to see the value in what the children are learning at school and how they can provide support at home. Encourage this throughout all year levels, particularly as children move towards secondary, sharing in learning doesn’t need to stop once children reach year 7. Providing these opportunities improves and continues the relationship between parent and child and increases children’s awareness of learning and where it happens. 

Engaging parents in learning is a topic I explore with school Principals, their staff as well as parents and children in learning communities. I currently develop research programs, resources, present workshops and provide strategies for parents and teachers on the difference and importance of involvement and engagement and how they are crucial in improving learning outcomes for children. 

Weekly Perspective: 
In her book, “Do Parents Know They Matter - Raising achievement through parental engagement”, Alma Harris writes,“There are three ways to think about this relationship: Parent engagement for learning, parent engagement through learning and parent engagement about learning."

Until next week, keep thinking…...and taking action!

For more information Contact Rachel on 0419 371 876 to learn more about how Practically Learning can assist you in developing and inspiring a positive learning culture in your school to improve learning outcomes for children.

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