By Peter Quigley
After weeks of preparation, you seem to have survived the back to school challenge. Books have been purchased, uniform collected and altered, school fees paid, and the coolest lunch box has been selected. That’s it. Job over. Your work here is done. Now the kids are back at school it is all up to the teachers. But wait, not so fast. We all know it can’t be that easy. Your role isn’t really over; in fact, it’s only just begun. Parent participation in the school life of their children is a vital key to the success of your children. So be brave and read on to see how you can play a pivotal role in your child’s school life.
There is a large body of evidence to support the contention that the more parents can become involved in their children’s schooling the better those children will achieve.
Research has found the students whose parents engage in meaningful ways in school are more likely to:
- Gain higher test scores
- Have higher levels of attendance
- Get on better with their peers
- Have more positive interactions with teachers and adults,
- Complete home tasks when expected
- Have higher levels of self-esteem
- Display a more positive outlook to their studies and better behaviour
The good news is this is not a one-way street; there are benefits for parents as well. This increase in interaction and the discussion that stems from this involvement leads to closer relationships within families. Parents become more sensitive to their children’s educational needs and develop an increased capacity to be able to assist their children with the demands of school. Parents also become part of a strong community and get to form lasting relationships with not just other parents but also the teachers and educators within the school.
Overall, our schools get stronger by forging meaningful relationships with parents. The exchange of ideas and the ability for school leadership to have a clear understanding of their families’ expectations, cultures and diversity creates a strong learning community. Such relationships also assist schools in eliciting feedback from parents on new programs, and future directions. Schools who engage actively with parents in creating mission and vision statements, and strategic planning tend to be far more successful in achieving the goals and targets they set. Schools who have active and engaged parents also report an increase in staff morale and job satisfaction. Obviously, schools who get these interactions right have very good reputations in the broader community and are able to snowball this good will into greater community support.
Peter Quigley is the principal of Moorooduc Primary School.