Parent participation can positively influence a child's education is considered as one of the least controversial statements worldwide. However, the conflict arises when trying to define that participation. Does parent involvement simply revolve around take-home flyers, PTA meetings and Back to School nights? Is this all enough to help increase student achievement and progress? According to research, a strong and supportive partnership between schools and parents is vital and plays a significant role in increasing student achievement. Our generation is quite different compared to our parents' generation. We are more educated, technologically aware and inquisitive about our surroundings. This means a large number of parents want to be familiar with what their children are learning at school and how they can assist them to excel further.
A successful parent involvement is based upon how actively parents are involved in ongoing participation of the child's education. This can range from helping with homework, attending school functions, home-by reading with children or volunteering in classrooms. In order to successfully engage parents, schools need to communicate with them regularly and make them feel comfortable about their involvement. There are six types of parent involvement identified by one of America's leading experts on parent involvement, Joyce Epstein of the Johns Hopkins University.
First and foremost is 'parenting' in which schools aid families with their parenting expertise by offering information regarding their child's development stages and facilitating them with advice and guidance on building a learning-friendly home environment. The second type of parent involvement includes communicating or helping families by educating them about their child's performance and encouraging parents to communicate with the school. The next type is based on volunteering where schools give parents the opportunity for any volunteer work so that they can personally assess their child's progress. Learning at home is the fourth type of parent involvement where schools and educators work together to determine effective at-home learning strategies in which parents can help with homework and monitor progress.
It is imperative that schools make an active effort to include parents in decision-making sessions during committee meetings and make them a part of the advisory panels. This will help in instigating a sense of belonging and motivate ongoing participation. Last but not least, community collaboration is based on a two-way outreach approach where business groups or communities are involved in the education system, helping families to participate in the community.
It's high time that schools realise that parents want to be an active part of their children's education. Although teachers and schools believe that parent involvement has a strong impact on a child's achievement but keeping good intentions aside, teachers, students and parents have little understanding about each other's interests. There is a lack of transparency when it comes to determining how parents are involved and what techniques they are using to increase their child's development process. Therefore, schools and teachers need to work on developing a common understanding with parents to support children's education.