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The National Centre for Parents defines Parental involvement as the participation of parents in every facet of children's education and development from birth to adulthood, recognizing that parents are the primary influence in children's lives.
Who is a Parent
Parents in this context can be referred to as children's closest caregivers or members of their extended families.
Types of Parental Involvement
1. One type is home-based involvement which includes activities that takes place between the child and parent outside the school setting. This entails helping child with homework, revising for test, monitoring of child's progress, providing enrichment activities pertinent to school success and corresponding with child's teacher on a regular basis.
2. The other type is school-base involvement which includes activities wherein parents focus on their individual child in the school setting. These activities include parent-teacher conference, in-class observation of child, informal discussions with teacher, attending school events and volunteering to assist on class field trips.
Barriers to parental involvement
Parenting styles have both positive and negative impact in the school and wider society.
Authoritative parents are warm but firm, attentive and sensitive to their children's needs.
Authoritarian parents appear cold and rejecting and frequently degrade their children by mocking and putting them down.
Permissive parents are overindulgent, inattentive and have little control over their children's lives.
Uninvolved parents have little involvement in their children's lives, are emotionally detached and oftentimes depress.
4. Too tired
5. Having other siblings to care for
6. Economically deprived
8. Burdened by different problems
9. Fear being involved, not fully understanding what they can do and how valuable their
contribution is to their children's academic achievement. Parents also fear that they do not
have the ability to help their children.
10. Distrust by teacher
11. Being single parents being poorer, less educated, and younger than is the case of two parents
in two-parent homes.
Benefits of Parental Involve
Benefits for children
Motivated to achieve and feel justified in sharing achievement
Children tend to bloom
Cognitive and physical development is enhanced
Child develops greater problem-solving skills and a significant increase occurs in the child's receptive and expressive language skills
Greater responsiveness to both school and home environments
Achieve academic success and wellbeing
Students benefit by getting higher grades, better attendance, and getting more homework done which builds their self-esteem.
Children whose parents are involved in their education are more motivated to learn. Motivated students tend to be more involved in class, more concerned about homework and more successful academically
Benefits for parents
Better school support
Parents learn a great deal about child care from their early child care and education programmes as they learn their homes benefit tremendously as they become more intellectually stimulating. This is as a result of parents adopting activities and ways of interacting that they encountered at the schools their children attends.
Parents can also develop more positive attitudes towards themselves including greater feelings of self-confidence, self-worth and competence
Develop a better understanding of child development which expands their understanding of the home as a place for learning. As a result of this parents are better able and more willing to help their children at home.
When parents are involved they will better understand the importance of their role in the educational process.
Develop a better understanding of the goals set for both the school and students and the plans for achieving those goals.
Benefits for teacher
Teachers develop a greater understanding of parents, their challenges and their cultural heritage
With a better understanding of a family's situation, teachers are more likely to be more supportive of the parents and less likely to be judgmental of them
Valuable resources in the classroom, if schools assist with the continuing education of parents, they will increase and enhance their resource
Improve morale among teachers
Higher ratings of teachers by parents and more support from families
Strategies for improving parental involvement
For parents who are illiterate, invite them in and explain work child is presently doing, so they can assist children at home.
Provide on the job training for parents who work as volunteers in the classroom.
Established proper and early communication with parents frequently and not only when child is giving trouble.
Make communication more meaningful and regular between the home and school.
Welcome parents as volunteers, and seek their advice since they know their children better than anyone else.
Help parents to understand the educational process and their role in supporting student's achievement.
Allow parents to help with decision making as they are full partners in their children's education, and have many ideas that can be shared with the school.
Schools should provide grade level meeting opportunities for parents to learn about parenting and child-rearing. This can be done through workshops, use of video tapes and phone voice messages.
Provide parents with suggestions on how to improve home conditions that support their children's learning.
The school can also help by providing training or educational courses for parents that will help them to get jobs
Direct parents to support programmes for health, nutrition and other services
Assist parents in establishing home environments to support children as students
Teach parents activities that build self-esteem and competence in their children
Encourage parents to give children responsibility, so children can take responsibility for their learning
Host grade-level parenting workshops to discuss children's progress
Conduct home visits as this is an effective strategy for involving parents especially in the inner-city where parents hide from the school.
Initiate community meetings to help families understand schools and to help schools understand families
Teach parents about child development and what to expect from children at different ages.
Teach parents behavior modification strategies so they can discipline their children without force
Help parents to develop ways they can stimulate their children's intellectual and emotional growth
While parents are waiting to collect their children show videos about how children learn and how to work with children with special needs
Help parents educate their children by ensuring that parents understand concepts being taught . . . Offer parents opportunities to familiarize themselves with classroom materials and discuss grade-level curriculum
Provide parents with upcoming topics to be taught, so they can prepare their children for that learning or activity.
Relationship first, education second
Start the year with a "parent-only" meeting before the first day of school. The underlying
theme for this first meeting: that both educators and parents are the child's teachers.
Schedule "Parent-only" meetings through the year to build and maintain parent \
relationships, align teacher with parent, and maintain parent education.
Create partnership between teachers and parents
Provide weekly parent education tips that explain the concepts being taught and provide
support materials that allow parents to help at home.
Provide parent homework and a method of weekly communication between parent and
Record the efforts of parent involvement on each child's report card, so parents can see
the importance of their work and the value you place on it.
Harness the talents and energies of your student's parents
Ask parents to chair and plan family events and class fundraisers. Empower them to
make this their child's best year of learning. Their involvement establishes "buy-in" and a
sense of ownership in the classroom.
Offer Parenting/Teacher Education Classes
Set up school-wide parenting and teacher education classes.
Arrange parenting classes, provide child-care at the school, so parents are able to share
issues and concerns with other parents and relieve feelings of isolation.
Use Your Data to Establish Future Goals for Both School and Home
Communicate assessment goals and dates.
Share the results of assessment with parents.
Use a variety of assessment data to establish future goals for both home and school.
Provide parents with the materials and education they need to assist their child.
Offer encouragement rather than praise by giving specific examples of a job well done.
In conclusion, it is evident that, parental involvement is important to the school, parents and the child. There can also be definite improvement in children's academic performance if parents are involved in the process. Despite the obstacles, the parents and school should ensure that they each do their part in promoting parental involvement. It is also important that the school take the initiative in developing a positive relationship with parents. The key to removing the barriers to effective parent involvement is the teacher who can achieve this before school begins and foster it throughout the school year. Parental involvement can benefit the school to a great extent which will in effect benefit the student's academic performance.
"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I will learn".