By: Angy Talbot (ECFE Blog Writer)
“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” ~ Jane D. Hull
It is well established that parental school involvement has a positive influence on school-related outcomes for children. Consistently, cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have demonstrated an association between higher levels of parental school involvement and greater academic success for children and adolescents. For young children, parental school involvement is associated with early school success, including academic and language skills, and social competence (Grolnick & Slowiaczek, 1994; Hill, 2001; Hill & Craft, 2003). Parent involvement in schools promotes children’s early academic success, while supporting parents’ parenting skills. Parent involvement is a benefit factor, which promotes a partnership and relationship between schools and families while building positive educational and emotional environments at school and equally at home. Families have a major influence on their child’s achievement in school. When parents are involved in their child’s education, children do better in school. When schools encourage, engage, and support families, greater gains in improving learning is inevitable. Families benefit from guidance in learning how to engage their child at home with take-home materials, attending school events such as parent days, conferences, face-to-face interventions, and communication between teacher and parent.
A child’s first entry into school can be very stressful and scary for parents. School readiness not only prepares the child for school, it also helps prepare the parents. One of our parent involvement goals in our program is to help “coach” our parents. “Coaching is used to acknowledge and perhaps improve existing knowledge and practices, develop new skills, and promote continuous self-assessment and learning on the part of the coaches.” Rush & Sheldon, 2011. We provide insight and knowledge to our parents in areas of child development while working as role models in our classes.
Families have many opportunities to get involved in our Early Childhood and Discovery Learning Programs. Listed below are some ways we promote parent involvement in our schools and classrooms:
• Parents have the opportunity to regularly participate with their child in class on Family Days, which takes place daily, weekly or monthly depending on the program.
• Teachers help coach parents by setting goals and guiding the parents in parenting needs.
• Parent Educators are available for home visits and parent discussions to further promote parenting skills and knowledge.
• Parents and family members have the opportunity to volunteer and participate in their child’s classroom.
• Each teacher has a website with information of what is happening in the classroom and programs can be viewed by the families with downloads, pictures, classroom news, newsletters, and important parent information and resources.
• Families can participate in the classroom by presenting to the children about their career, special interest, or culture.
• Parents can come and read a story to the classroom as a special reader for the day.
• Special program activities from carnivals to 5k’s all promote family involvement and participation.
• Parents are informed and given information on the many curriculums, strategies, and resources that are used in the classroom that they can also be done at home from:
• TACSEI/High Five/ECTA (Social Emotional and behavior)
• Minnesota Reading Corps and SEEDS (Literacy)
• Creative Curriculum (Curriculum Used)
• LANA – Healthy eating and snack
• Learning Blocks Math
• Response to Intervention
This is just a short list of how our ECFE/SR program promotes, supports, and encourages family involvement and participation.
It has been proven that family participation and involvement in school greatly benefits children and the family unit. Our ECFE/SR program is designed to help families become engaged in school together at the young ages. Even as your child grows older, there are still many ways to get involved with your child’s learning environment. When families continue classroom learning at home, learning and development is strongly reinforced and family involvement is inspired. When parents and care-givers are involved in the early years of education, they will more likely stay actively involved in the elementary years.
What are some ways you are involved with your child’s schooling?