Parent involvement in schools has become a growing national trend and movement across the country. More and more schools are preparing tips, guidelines, and reports on how to best involve parents in their children’s education and be part of the school-going culture.
In Washington State, for example, a school district director for family and community partnership recently developed a Partnership 101 booklet (available in both English and Spanish) that helps parents navigate the in and outs of the school system. The booklet was welcomed by the school community and led to the development of a family engagement handbook for teachers. The booklet and the handbook work in hand in hand to help create partnerships between families and teachers and provide tips for families who want to be part of their child’s education.
To illustrate what’s in the booklet, here are some questions that parents can ask their children at home:
• Can you teach me something you learned today?
• Will you show me some of the work you’ve done?
• Can you see the board and hear your teacher from where you sit in class?
• What do you do if you don’t understand what your teacher is saying in class?
• What can I do to you in school?
One of the most important parts of the booklet is the inclusion of 25 ways that parents can promote their child’s success in school. The tips include modeling a love for learning and reading; identifying your child’s learning style; affirming and supporting your child’s progress in school; make reading easy; make learning fun at home. These are just some examples from the booklet.
In Virginia, the state’s Department of Education sent out a questionnaire throughout the state asking for input about strategies that schools have used to foster parent involvement. Based on the results of that survey, the department produced a booklet on rips and strategies for improving parent and family involvement. One of the most important sections is about supporting parents in helping their children at home. Tips include offering training for parents on how to help their child with homework and recommending that parents read with their children everyday.
The point of all the efforts currently taking place across the country is that parents and teachers need to work together to help children succeed in school. It’s an ongoing effort that requires thought, planning, and a whole lot of caring.
The Latino Family Literacy Project™, a program published by Lectura Books publishing can help teachers and parents work together to provide tangible and meaningful opportunities for English Learner parents and EL children.