Parent involvement in the learning of their children is extremely important in the educational success and development of the child. Parental involvement includes the participation of parents in various educational programs and the interaction of parents in their child's learning experiences (Herr, 2008, p. 617). The article "Parental Involvement In Learning" by Brent Sitton discusses the importance of parental involvement in the education of their children. The focus of the article is parental involvement through reading, encouraging reading, and discussing reading material; although, communicating, volunteering, and home learning are also briefly discussed. Parent who are involved in their child's education build a positive relationship between parents, teachers, educational staff, and children. Parental involvement is important with children of all ages to encourage developmental growth, self-esteem, and educational success.
Sitton's (2006) article states that children who are read to frequently "were at a distinct advantage over children whose families read to them less often." (p. 1) A parent or family member who reads to their children not only helps children to learn verbal skills but also encourages the child to learn and succeed while in school. Reading also provides much needed quality time between a parent and a child; therefore, increasing the child's sense of self-esteem. Children who are read to by a parent or family member did better in school and were able to understand and recognize words and sounds better than children who had little exposure to reading. "Students of all ages who regularly saw parents and other family members reading at home were positively influenced." (Sitton 2006) Providing a variety of reading materials and other learning activities at home creates an environment that encourages learning in the child's home.
Encouraging reading by reading, discussing, and providing a variety of reading materials at home is one of the most important and easiest ways for a parent to be involved in their child's learning; however, it is not the only way a parent can be involved. Communication with teachers, educational staff, and the child is another way for a parent to be involved in their child's learning. Parents have many opportunities to communicate with teachers by scheduling parent-teacher conferences. Parent-teacher conferences are a great outlet for parents to obtain information about their child's educational needs and success. Weekly progress reports and reviews of homework sent home by the teacher also provide information to the parent and help keep parents involved in their child's education. Teachers can also provide daily letters or notes to the parents to inform the parent of the child's daily activities and encourage parents to continue the learning at home. Educational staff can communicate information to parents about school wide activities through newsletters. Bulletin boards are another form of communication that teacher and educational staff can use to inform parents about the school and their children. Bulletin boards encourage parents to enter the school, take their time, and ask questions. Bulletin boards can also encourage parents to volunteer by providing information about volunteer opportunities. Another form of communication with parents not mentioned in article is called sunshine calls. "Sunshine calls are telephone calls made by a teacher to a parent to communicate praise and support for the child." (Herr, 2006, p. 631) This effective form of communication provides the parent with positive feedback about their child. The sunshine call also sends a positive message to the parent that the teacher has an interest in their child's education. A parent can also stay involved by talking with their child when they come home from school or during family mealtime about their day at school. A parent is able to learn about the child's education from the child's point of view and at the same time show the child that the parent is truly interested.
Volunteering is another effective way for a parent to be involved in their child's learning experience. This form of involvement is more time consuming then reading to the child and communication with educational staff and the child. A parent can volunteer during the day in the child's classroom, during field trips, or other school activities. Parents can also become involved in workshops that might be offered by the school or volunteer during after school activities. It can be difficult to find the time to volunteer; however, the benefit of volunteering on the child's education is a great reward. Most teachers encourage parents to volunteer but parents should seek out opportunities to volunteer wherever possible.
One final way for a parent to become involved in learning is through home learning. Parents can help the children learn by going on "family outings that reinforce the concepts being learned at school." (Sitton, 2006) There are many places to go like museums, parks, and libraries that will provide a fun outing to encourage learning at home. Parents are able to point out how the child's learning relates to real life as well as spend quality time with their child. Parents can also help the child learn at home simply by helping the child with their daily homework. There are also many educational websites like Starfall.com that can be accessed at home with the child to encourage home learning. A positive learning environment at both school and home will increase the success of children in their learning.
Parental Involvement is very important in the education of children. The major benefit to parental involvement in learning is to the child. When parents are involved children do better in school. Children are able to achieve better reading and verbal skills when parents encourage reading at home. Parental involvement improves the child's behavior at school and reduces the amount of absences. Children whose parents are involved are more confident in themselves and their learning. Teachers should encourage parental involvement whenever possible to create positive learning experience for children. Creating a united parent-teacher relationship increases a child's chance of success early on so the children can succeed in the future. As an educator, I have learned the importance of parental involvement in learning from this article. As a result, I will seek out ways to encourage parents to become involved in classroom activities and suggest ways for parents to encourage learning and development at home. A positive parent-teacher relationship encourages success in the education of children.