Parents as Partners
Parents are part of their child’s learning in so many ways. Schools can play a key role in engaging parents further and supporting their confidence and capacity to be successful. We know the positive effects of parental efficacy on a child’s learning outcomes. Increased parental involvement is also linked to positive outcomes (learning outcomes, completion rates, attitudes to learning, (Epstein et al., 2009, Centre on School, Family, Community Partnerships). A capacity-building, problem-solving approach helps parents to highlight and access the assets and tools available to respond effectively to each child’s learning situation as they learn and grow. Developing confidence in their current efforts and knowing about local supports, quality information and resources can make this aspect of parenting easier and more effective.
A parent role that is familiar is when schools engage parents as much needed volunteers to support program activities such as field trips or fundraising. Beyond supporting school-initiated experiences, however, there also exists ongoing opportunities for parents to contribute to the learning of all children in the community by taking the opportunities to share their own areas of passion and and their unique talents and skills.
Further reading and resources
J. Steinmann, G.Malcolm, A. Connell, S.Davis and J.McMann, (2000-2008), Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI), The Role of Parents and Community in Supporting Student Success, A Review of AISI Cycles One, Two and Three Projects.
Epstein,J. and Associates, (2009) School, family and community partnerships: Your handbook for action, 3rd. Edition. Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Grasslands School Division’s Newcomers Guide to Elementary Education in Alberta (18 languages)*
Alberta Education website: Role of Parents
Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement – Resources for Parents
Centre on School, Family, and Community Partnerships
National Network of Partnership Schools, Johns Hopkins University
Harvard Family Research Project - Family Involvement