Parents' Toolkit - suppport to parents at key stages of schooling
The Parents Toolkit aims to facilitate dialogue with parents in order to help them understand the challenges associated with the education of their children. The Parents? Toolkit contains a set of tools that facilitates the relationships between schools and families. The Toolkit is based on the principle of shared responsibility: parents are responsible for the education of their children; the school is responsible for the education of children and they must work together to create positive outcomes for children.
The Parents’ Toolkit has two main objectives: increasing the participation of parents in supporting their children, and to improve parents’ ability to support their children to make appropriate study choices’. It facilitates dialogue with parents and aims to help them understand the challenges related to their children’s education. It offers educational teams a set of tools to organise and facilitate discussions with parents.
The Toolkit for Parents is used at three key moments of children's schooling:
- First year of primary school, when pupils learn to read (Primary Toolkit),
- First year of secondary school, to support pupils’ transition to the new school and (Secondary Entry Toolkit),
- The last year of lower secondary school, to discuss future educational choices (Lower Secondary Leavers Toolkit).
The Primary Toolkit aims to facilitate dialogue with parents, helping them to understand educational issues, to answer their questions on the entry to the first year of primary and involve them more in the education of their child. The focus is on ‘learning to read’; teachers invite parents to come to school to attend a reading session and then discuss how they can help their children at home.
It allows three questions to be discussed with parents:
- How do we learn to read and how can parents support their child in learning to read?
- How can parents help their child to learn?
- How can parents help their children to be comfortable in school and behave well.
The Secondary Entry Toolkit offers support to parents to enable them to become involved in school matters. The aim is to develop a dialogue between the school and families. The Toolkit is centred on supporting parents to understand the structure and system of the school. It explains to parents the organisation of the school in order to help them understand it better and provides methods and support to enable parents to think about and discuss how they can help their children succeed. Educational tools in the Toolkit allow educational teams to prepare and organise the discussions.
The discussions focus on three main themes:
- How can I help my child?
- How do I understand where my child stands?
- A final assessment.
The Lower Secondary Leavers Toolkit has two objectives: increasing the participation of parents in supporting their children and developing their educational orientation skills. We usually pilot the Toolkit to help educational teams develop a better understanding of how to inform parents about the choices available to their children. This tool has two objectives: increasing the participation of parents in supporting their children and developing their educational orientation skills.
Findings of the programme evaluation show that the Parents’ Toolkit allows for much stronger involvement of parents in their children's schooling. This has resulted in a significant drop in absenteeism, fewer discipline problems and improvements in terms of educational outcomes in courses such as French. These positive effects are noticeable not only in relation to families who are typically receptive to information coming from the college, but also to families who are less familiar or responsive to traditional school communication methods / policies.