6.2 Participation by the Parents in School Programme

Parent involvement is crucial to help children achieve the best possible learning outcomes at school.

When a child starts attending school, there is a lot that his parents can do to be more involved in his new school life. For stay-at-home parents with more time flexibility, there are definitely more opportunities to be involved. Here are some ways that parent involvement can take place.

1. School Council

In many countries, public schools have a school council comprising the principal, senior staff of the school, parents and officials of the education department that regularly meet, discuss and make decisions related to school issues.

Non-teaching staff members are usually elected and parents who are keen to be involved in the school council should approach the school about it.

2. Parents and Teachers Club

These may have different names – for instance Parents and Teachers Association, Parent Club and Parents and Friends Association – but they generally have the same objectives. They provide parents with the opportunity to contribute to the well-being of the school as well as allowing parents to raise various issues concerning their children’s education, health and safety. Very often, every class will have its own parent representatives in the club.

Parents should make full use of all communication channels between parents and teachers to support their children’s learning. Checking the school website, emailing or phoning teachers when needed, reading school newsletters and fully participating in parent-teacher interviews are also great ways for parents to know more about their children’s school environment and community.

3. Volunteering in School

There are so many volunteer programs in which parents can be directly involved in. In many primary or elementary schools, parent volunteers are needed in the canteen, classroom, gym, cultural groups, on sports day, during field trips and excursions as well as at fund-raising activities.

Children are naturally happy whenever their parents participate actively in such volunteer programs at school. There is another big advantage as well – physically present at the school grounds, parents can observe how their children interact and behave with other children and their teachers.

4. Children’s Homework

Children in lower grades probably don’t have much homework, but they do have simple exercises and daily reading to do. While daily reading is usually not compulsory, parents should really make it a point to read with the child everyday. After all, reading with a child on a daily basis can help foster good lifelong reading and learning habits. Supervising older children with their homework also gives parents the chance to ask more about school and what happens in the classroom.

There are many ways that parents can be involved in their children’s school life – by actively taking part in the school council, parent club, volunteering programs and the children’s homework. Each way, big or small, allows parents to ultimately help enrich school programs and enhance their children’s growth and learning.

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