A PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT PROGRAM

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Parental involvement in the education is an important factor that facilitates the education of children. Both parents and teachers have a significant role in facilitating learning process and educational achievement of all children. Today, many educational providers have adopted policies to incorporate a stronger relationship between homes and schools. This relationship has become a major area of interest and research for educational researchers. This paper provides an outline that can used by a school or school district to involve parents in educational programs in their children's schools. It includes the objectives and goals of such programs, recruitment and retaining methods for parents involved and the impact of such pattern ships.

Parental Involvement Program

Introduction

Schools and homes are two important environments, which facilitates the learning of every child, hence most education providers and systems have adopted policies that incorporate home and school interaction. Many educational experts reiterate the need for stronger relationship between home and school to facilitate effective learning. This essay discusses a program for parental involvement in school and school district. It begins by identifying the missions, goals and objectives of the program and then identifies some of the activities that can be initiated to recruit and subsequently retain parents for the program to be successful. Finally, the essay outlines the benefits of embracing parental involvement programs for learners, parents, teachers and the community as large.

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Parental Involvement Program

This parental involvement program incorporates parents into learning activities of their children and is based on the following objectives. The first objective is for parents to work as a team with teachers and children in defining the type of activities that children will engage in. This is based on the belief that parents have a role in constructing the education of their children and should therefore participate in choosing the kind of activities that they need their children to undertake. This kind of involvement allows parents to interpret and decide the type of activities that they consider important for their children's learning and development (Dempsey et al, 1997). The second objective of this parental involvement program is to enable parents to positively influence the behavior of their children, consequently improving their performance in school. This is based on the belief that if parents engage in their children's educational activities they motivate them to improve their academic performance and achieve better grades (Dempsey et al, 1997).

According to Dempsey et al ( 1997), one of the goals of parental involvement in learning activities of their children is to facilitate direct involvement of parents in school activities in order to assist in the general running of the school programs. Dempsey et al (1997) points out that most educational programs and education providers believe that parents should be invited to participate in various educational programs to facilitate the education of their children. Furthermore, any successful school program should address ways of involving parents in school activities and seek the opinions of parents.

Parental involvement is an important aspect of education, whose mission is to positively influence and enhance learning and development of children's education. Schunk et al (2008) provides an in depth knowledge and explanation of parental involvement in children's educational achievements by highlighting the benefits of involving parents in their children's education and learning programs. According to Schunk et al (2008), parental involvement in children's learning activities deters children from being distracted by peer influence, ensuring that children fully concentrate and participate in learning activities because they understand that they are answerable to their parents for their academic performance.

There are many ways in which parents involve themselves with learning and educational programs of their children. Schunk et al (2008), argues parents who take time to encourage children to imitate positive beliefs and behavior are likely to transform their children's lives because such positive behavior patterns strongly influence the way children think and act both home and in school. Parents should therefore act as role models, which their children can emulate. In addition, parents should guide their children on the right path to follow in order to develop their educational achievement. According to Schunk et al (2008), parents should help their children to plan their course early enough so that they can work hard to achieve desired grades to facilitate them to enroll for the course. Helping children with their homework, test and projects and making sure that they complete their homework as per requirement should be embraced for all parents with school going children. Schunk et al (2008) points out to the fact that it is particularly through homework that most parents are able to participate in schoolwork of their children. These are fulltime activities for parental involvement in education programs of their children and should be executed on daily basis. In addition, occasional programs for parental involvement in school activities of their children such as attending meetings when required, organizing and participating in educational trips and participating in school annual prize giving activities to motivate their children.

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Recruitment and retaining of parents in participation of educational programs for their children may be a difficult task that many educational providers face. One method of doing this is by inviting parents to school for special parents day or open forum whereby they are allowed to air their views on education programs for their children. This gives them a sense of belonging and ownership for the educational programs of their children because through such meetings parents, teachers, and school management come up with decisions that involve parents in engagement of school activities (DCSF, 2010). These meetings can be held twice per year, with the first meeting discussing, identifying and planning programmes and activities for parents educational involvement for the whole year, which should involve participation of all parents. The second meeting should be a follow-up meeting, held to review if the goals and objectives of such involvement programs have been achieved.

Schunk et al (2008) argues that many educational experts believe that children's academic programs can only be successful by developing appropriate practice. Part of this practice is to allow children to explore the environment where they learn and by interacting with adults. This makes parental involvement the best method for developing the best practice for educational achievement especially by providing support in areas of developing language and social skills as children learn to socialize by interacting with their parents, teachers and their peers. It is therefore important for parental involvement programs to provide opportunities for their children to participate in school events and other activities in class, such as volunteering in reading sessions, numeracy, games and even school trips.

Parents can be recruited and retained in involvement of school programs through encouragement and support from school administration. Children come from diverse family backgrounds, some come from middle, affluent and from low-income families. The schools must therefore, embrace this diversity when designing and developing school based children educational programs in order to guarantee participation of all parents (DCSF, 2010). This support further strengthens the relation ship between schools and homes, giving children a sense of security and confidence to learn in supportive environment. Furthermore, when parents feel that the school cares for them and values their input they will always be encouraged to participate in school programs for their children. This will not just contribute the academic achievement of their children, but will also contribute to the development of their respective communities. DCSF (2010) points out the need for schools to cooperate with other service providers to support parents in areas of childcare, healthcare and community care. This will help parents to understand that positive relationship between homes, communities and schools plays an important role in the development of children.

Research has proved that parental involvement in children's learning activities has had a huge impact on educational achievement of their children. According to DCSF (2010), teachers and parents are the two main educators of children, hence there is need for them to work together. DCSF (2010) emphasizes on the fact that parents are the main facilitators of education for their children at early age of children's growth. Furthermore, both parents and teachers have a major influence in the learning of children and beyond, thus both schools and homes have crucial roles in the education their respective children.

Conclusion

In conclusion, homes and schools are two main anchors of educational development of children. This interaction determines the way in which parents, children and teachers relate in order to facilitate educational achievement of children. This paper outlines the mission and goals for parental involvement in school by defining areas and activities that need parental involvement. Parents participate in educational programs of their children by influencing the behavior of their children, ensuring they do their homework and acting as role models for their children. Direct parental involvement in school activities and effective learning programs that enhance children's cognitive skills and empower children's social skills as well as participation in community activities should be embraced. Research has proved that there is a strong link between children's achievement and parental involvement. Largely, parental involvement in children's learning activities has had a major impact in facilitating a consistent and positive relationship between children, school and parents. In addition, it contributes to the positive upbringing of children by allowing them to socialize and interact with others. This helps children to develop their social and emotional skill, which in return leads positive behavior patterns. Similarly, parental involvement helps children to improve their intellectual capability and enhances their creativity. However, despite the numerous benefits of parental involvement in learning activities of their children, schools face the challenge of recruiting and retaining parents to these programs. Organizing special forums where parents, teachers and education providers can come together annually to plan and develop effective parental involvement programs that should be executed for the whole yeear, assigning each parent responsibilities and organizing for a second meeting within the course of the year to review achievements of the program and decide the way forward. This will allow parents to air their views and give their opinions on ways in which they can contribute to educational achievements of their children collectively. Parents should be given enough information to help them make informed decisions on parental involvement programs. This effectively empowers parents to come up with their own ways of contributing to their children's education. Parents should be allowed to form parents associations where they can discuss ways of volunteering to participate in school activities. Finally, incorporating members of the local community and local authorities to support parents through social, health and child welfare support programs leads to effective parental involvement in children's education.

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