Before starting school, babies and much younger children rely on their parents and caregivers for learning. So why should parental contribution to a child’s education come to an end once children begin formal education?
Studies have shown that parental involvement helps pupils achieve higher grades at school, and has a positive effect on the child’s attendance and general attitude towards schooling. However, getting parents enthusiastic about their child’s education can be difficult, as most parents may find it difficult to juggle homework help with their existing responsibilities.
This article will outline some clever strategies to get parents more involved with their child’s studies.
Send regular newsletters
Most schools have some form of monthly newsletter; why not use it as an opportunity to ask for parent volunteers for school activities? Even volunteering at one event can forge a closer bond between parents and schools – plus, it’s a huge help for individual events – so make this point abundantly clear in letters that you send home and create as many opportunities for involvement as you can.
Also, if you know of any parents whose first language isn’t English, simply send the pupil home with a translated copy of the newsletter. These parents’ lack of involvement thus far may be simply down to a language barrier, so always make sure that you bridge these gaps.
Use The School Diary
Most schools have a diary or reference book that children take home to log library books and list homework. Utilise this book as more of communication tool and write messages to parents about your pupil’s progress and attitude and get the parents to sign next to the note to confirm they have seen it. Encourage dialogue in this way and soon you may start to see more involvement from parents who want to address the issues you raise.
Find Out More about The Parents
If you happen to bump into parents of pupils at school events or outside of school, make an effort to personally approach them and introduce yourself. The aim of this is to find out a little more about them and their interests so you can use this knowledge to encourage them to participate in school activities. By asking them about things they enjoy and then asking them personally to volunteer for the school doing something they enjoy, you may find that suddenly their busy schedules have just opened up.
And before you know it your school bake sale will be heaving with tasty homemade treats – made by parents, of course.
Don’t Wait For Parents’ Evening
Teachers know the educational milestones that their pupils are expected to achieve before the school year ends, but parents might be completely in the dark about all of this until parents’ evening. Make an easily comprehensible document that has these skills and levels of mastery listed – with minimal jargon, of course. This way, you know that parents can keep an eye on the child’s progress at home and take steps to improve things if they feel their child may be lagging behind.
Utilise Social Networking
At the end of a long day at work, parents may just want to sprawl out on the sofa and check their social networks and favourite websites. If that’s the case, why not use Facebook or Twitter to pique their interest in becoming a school volunteer? Using your school blog or Twitter account, list volunteer opportunities at the school and start a friendly online dialogue with parents. Obviously, avoid talking about individual pupils via social networking and keep discussions light, but make an effort to follow parents of pupils and see if any of them respond favourably.
If you have any other ideas for getting parents involved with their child’s education, please share these tips in the comments section below.