School is the most important station during ones life, so the teachers carry the message of prophets; moreover, parents play a vital role in the teaching process during the life of their children.
In fact, every parent plays a vital role in the teaching process before, during and after school. Thus, teaching process depends on the shoulders of the teachers, students and their parents. For this reason, nobody can ignore the role of any parent toward the school, teaching and learning. Hence, parents should pay more attention and be more patient toward their children. Also, they need to know that schools are not places for their children to keep them out of streets. Moreover, parents need to know that they are partners of the teacher in the teaching process. For this reason, this article aims to present the parents' role in education.
The importance of early childhood education and involving parents in this process:
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There is a famous proverb that says "Teaching in a childhood is like carving in a stone"; for this reason, people are very anxious to teach their children at early ages. Thus, Palestinians are among those who are very ambitious to teach their kids at kindergarten and pre-school. From this point, one's can say that the teacher is the one who has the most important role in their life since he/ she creates good mentalities and establish scholars for life.
Also, Palestinians, like others, consider the teacher as a great candle that is burning itself to light for others. None the less, everyone knows that every human being should learn how to read and write in order to live a life as other people who live on knowledge and science. Hence, people, from early ages, respect teachers and give them their real positions. In addition, teachers know that they are carrying the message of all prophets who taught people honestly. For this reason, prosperous countries support education and put a good finance for schools, universities or education in general, so they give good salaries for teachers. In addition, everyone know that the present education system focuses largely on teachers as the key players in the children's education with some concentration being placed in having parents as co-partners in the children's learning process. In the Palestinian community, schools and scholars are aware that there is a gap between the school and family function that often created unnecessary problems for the children they share. But when parents are well educated and are ready to offer any help, this means a good reaction on the grades and behaviors of their children.
Zedan (2001) has written that ''The higher the education levels of the parents, the greater their involvement in the educational framework".
Thus, sharing parents with educational process has many goals:
When families and schools work together, students do better in school and in life, teachers motivations improves, parents become empowered, schools get better and communities grow stronger.
Some schools might find it beneficial to have parents and family members volunteer as tutors, aides or other classroom resources, such as guest speakers. This volunteer service is important, because it allows teachers and administrators to provide more one-on-one attention to students.
Children respect themselves and others.
Improves children's academic achievement.
Improves parent-child relationships.
Helps parents develop positive attitudes towards school and a better understanding of the schooling process.
Hence, people in Palestinian community are ready to lose their money, but teach their kids at early ages; thus, Brown, Donovan and Burns (2001) have written, "Early child education refers to the education that children obtain during early stages of their childhood. Early childhood is a crucial time period for the development of the mental functions of children. This development, including the emergency of the abilities and skills in area such as language, skills, psychosocial cognitive and learning, is now know to be greatly influenced by exogenous factors, including the nature of the educational environment to which the child is exposed during the first 6 to 8 years of life."
Parents are their children's learning model:
To tell the truth, the role of any parent is not less important than the role of a teacher, especially at the period of kindergarten and preschool. Thus, parents during these ages are their children's coaches, tutors, helpers and their guides to follow the best steps in their lives and future. Through good guidance, parents can help their children to organize their time and learn many things in and out of their schools. PBS Parents argues that "Although a parent's role in their children's learning evolves as kids grow, one thing remains constant: we are our children's learning models. Our attitudes about education can inspire theirs and show them how to take charge of their own educational journey" (PBS Parents, "The Role of Parents").
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Early childhood education makes parents ready to be involved in their children's school: The role of parents in early childhood is to watch the language of their kids, guide, offer help, and so they have a vital role in kindergarten, preschool and all schools and ages. For this reason, parents need to get involved in teaching process during these ages, but they should know what to do and what tasks are waiting for them.
What is the role of a parent at kindergarten, preschool & compulsory education?
During this age, parents need to follow the instructions of the teachers of the school, so they should not intervene in the jobs of the teachers. Hence, the role of a parent is to guide the child how to do their tasks, or how to start their activities. Moreover, it's very important for parents to know that kids learn throw playing games, telling stories, singing songs or chants, drawing & coloring, watching short and educational films and many other activities. In addition, the most important thing is that our children leave their nest to another one, so it is very important for them to get ready for the coming days, and to be accustomed to the condition of schools. Thus, children feel that they are separated from their parents; they cry; they feel terrible and bad. For this reason, the kindergarten and preschool may need some parents on the first days, but this does not mean that parents should stay all the time at that school, but as a volunteer guest who can offer some help, advise, suggest and let his/ her child knows the importance of education and school.
Preschool is like kindergarten, so parents should not intervene in the job of teachers, and they have to follow the instructions of the teachers and to be helpers, guide their kids to follow the right steps. In addition, a parent is advised to make the kids love the school by telling them good stories about schools, singing with them the songs that they have already memorized, count with them as a fun game. For this reason, parents have to prepare a good home environment for their kids and keep them away from stress. Hence, Tricia Ballad (2010) has written, "Young children do not make hard distinctions between home and school. When there is stress at home, they bring that stress with them to school and vice versa. Creating a nurturing, safe environment for young children will help them let go of any problems they may have at school. It will also give them the freedom to be creative and learn to solve problems constructively. They will take those skills with them to the classroom.''
Moreover, parents should watch the language of their kids, and guide them to pronounce a good pronunciation. Also, they need to focus on what to do positive rather than what not to do negative. In addition, children are God's gift, so parents have to thank God for every gift. Hence, it is the best time for parents to teach kids the morals and teach them how to do ablution and pray. Also, kids need good feelings and love, so Hinackay (2008) said, ''make sure that your children are loved. Show love with hugs, smiles, kisses, talking and looking directly into their eyes. Encourage and support your children by showing appreciation for their accomplishments. Show respect for kids to learn how to respect others."
Children learn from the environment:
Parents have to treat their children as they treat any adult, respect them and listen to them when they speak and ask, and it is very important to look in their eyes when the speak to give them a good support and trust. Also, parents must not quarrel with each others in front of their children. Moreover, they have to know that kids learn from their parents every single thing. For this reason, kids are like a mold that has been created by the hands of the parents and any good or bad behavior at home will be reacted on them. Hence, Dorothy Law Nolte (2008) has written that '' If the child lives with criticism, he/ she will learn to condemn. If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight. If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy. If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty. If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient. If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence. If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate. If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice. If a child lives with security, he learns to have a faith. If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself. If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.''
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The law forces every single parent to send his/ her kid to any public school; it is a crime to find out that some parents haven't sent their children to any school yet. The system of education in the Palestinian territories has divided compulsory basic education into two parts: the preparatory stage (Grades 1 to 4) and the empowerment stage (Grades 5 to 10).Â Also, Secondary education covers (grades 11 & 12), but it is optional and the student can follow one of the five streams.
How can parents concentrate in teaching their children at home?
There are a lot of methods that can enable parents to do at home in order to help their children. Thus, every child has a special talent, abilities, personality and mentality. In addition, these children are not at the same level of intelligence. Furthermore, every single parent knows the ability and mentality of his/ her child, so a parent should find out what a child needs. Also, parents need to create a suitable study environment at home for enabling the child to enjoy active concentration while studying. Hence, parents may involve themselves in the teaching process, and they can follow some of the following steps to help their children in home-schooling:
Parents need to pay attention to what their children love.
They need to know how their children learn.
Parents should share their children in their reading to support them.
They have to connect what their children learn to everyday life and the world.
They had better to help their children to take charge of their learning.
Parents are advised to make the schedule of children as less as they can.
They should balance between studying and TV; give enough time for both.
They need to learn new thing to support them with new information.
Can parents apply the Multiple Intelligence Theory at home?
Parents can apply this theory at home by doing the following:
Linguistic intelligence: help the kid how to read.
Logical-mathematical intelligence: show them how to calculate, count and how to follow the write steps in doing some exercises if they know how to do it.
Spatial intelligence: they may show a map of any place or ask children to open the Atlas to show some countries, or ask them to give extra information about some places and correct their information or add more.
Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence: they and kids can play, sing, draw, color and act.
Musical intelligence: they can use any kind of music when they sing songs.
Intrapersonal intelligence: they may tell their children stories, so one can take the main character and imagine that he/ she is the hero of the story and take the role play of him.
Interpersonal intelligence: here, children may imagine themselves as each character, so each one can act as a member of that story or imitate some actors.
Naturalist intelligence: parents may take their kids to the garden, valleys and mountains to describe some natural things, ask them to imitate some sound and learn from their surroundings.
Are Parents True Partners in Education Process?
In the Palestinian territories, parents, in general, consider themselves out of the circle of education process for many reasons. In addition, parents are more active at kindergarten and preschool, but they become less active when their children get older and older.
From my experience, I have been teaching since 1999; I taught all grades; parents used to come to ask about their children at early ages, especially the first two grades. Furthermore, I have been teaching at a high school for ten years, and we regularly make meetings for parents four times a year; two meetings each semester. In October 2012, we sent 300 invitation cards, but only six fathers and two mothers came. Later on, when we asked some parents why they didn't come to the meeting, the answers are still the same: a) a lack of time due to employment, b) parents are not ready to make themselves available for involvement, & c) inability to obtain a babysitter (Zedan, 2011).
In addition, a parent involvement in educational system is affected by:
a) The number of family member, so a parent could not give enough time for each kid; especially mothers are mostly get involved in teaching their kids in the Palestinian community.
b) The level of education of the parents and many problems appear when the parents are not well educated especially when they belong to a low rank position in the Palestinian community.
c) The socio-economic situation; thus, when a father is suffering from poverty, he usually works hard, looks for the best ways to cover the expenses of this hard life (Zedan, 2011).
Another thing to mention is that parents usually ask us: Why should we come to school?! What can we do?! However, we're ready to follow your decisions. This means that they are not decision makers, and it is unhealthy phenomenon since parents' role is very important.
On the contrary, (Ferrara & Ferrara, 2005) have discussed six frameworks for Parental involvement in the teaching process and their relationship with school.
''These frameworks are:
Parenting: help all families establish home environment to support children as students.
Communicating: design effective forms of school-to-home & home-to-school communications about school programs and children progress.
Volunteering: recruit and organize parent help and support.
Learning at home: Provide information and ideas to families about how to help students at home with homework and other curriculum-related activities, decisions, and planning.
Decision making: include parents in school decisions, developing parent leaders and representatives.
Collaborating with the community: identify and integrate resources and services from the community to strengthen school programs, family practices, and students' learning and development.''
Parents are real partners in the education process, and they complete the role of teachers, so the home and the school are a full circle. In addition, the school has to tell parents what to do, and the parents need to ask the school about their roles and how to get involved in the education process. In fact, in the Palestinian territories, we call parents when their children do or have problems, and we don't call them to share us in the education process. Thus, both, the school and the home have a kind of default in this process. In addition, parents have not realized that they play a vital role in education. For this reason, I hope that one day people will learn, from their experiments and experiences in life, that school and teachers are not only the educators, but also parents are their partners.