Learning begins before a child begins school; and as they begin schooling, they continue to learn both in and outside of the classroom.
Hence, parents play a vital role in providing learning opportunities at home that links what they learn in school. This makes parents important actors in a child’s learning.
By definition, parents’ engagement in schools can be seen as parents and school working together to support and improve learning and development of children and adolescence.
Parental engagement is multifaceted as it subsumes a wide variety of parental behavioural patterns and parental practices.
Engaging parents in their children’s school lives is essential to supporting children’s success in the classroom and their overall health and well-being.
How can parents get involved?
Parents can be involved in or outside the school. Parents can get involved at home by discussing school related matters, helping with homework, and reading with children.
They can get involved in school by attending workshops, school programmes, and sporting events.
Parents can avail themselves for meetings to better understand the performance of their children.
Students whose families are involved in their school experiences are more likely to have higher grades and test scores, attend school regularly, have better social skills, exhibit improved behavior, and adapt well to school (Henderson & Mapp, 2002).
Dimensions of Parental Engagement
- Behavioural Involvement: these are parents’ public actions that show their interest in their children’s education like attending open house and volunteering at a school.
- Personal Involvement: this occurs when parents interact with children in a way that communicates positive attitudes about school and the importance of education.
- Cognitive/ Intellectual Involvement: this refers to parents’ behaviours that promote children’s development of skills and knowledge such as reading books together, visitation to the museum, libraries, galleries, talks and performance, and helping with assignments.
Benefits of Parental Engagement
- Improved academic performance.
- Learners whose parents are engaged in their education are active and ready to learn.
- Improved self esteem.
- High rate of school attendance and positive social behaviour.
- Lower dropout rates
- More regular school attendance.
Based on research, a number of factors affect levels of parental engagement.
The school also plays a vital role in parents involvement.
School teachers can also play a role through various practices like assigning homework to increase student-parent interactions, constantly communicating children’s education with parents and organizing workshops for families.
So dear parents, my humble advice is that you should never be too busy to get involved and engaged in your child’s academics. It is necessary to always assist your children the little ways can. A little more effort would yield a little more result.
As school resumes this January, I encourage all parents to make conscious efforts to be fully engaged in the academics of their children.