Spásanna do thuismitheoirí agus rannpháirtíocht i ngníomhaíochtaí oideachais
An effective way to create a positive family-school partnership and engage parents is to provide welcoming and safe opportunities for parents to be present at the school, share their expertise, build their confidence and their leadership capacities, social networks and learning. Parents and families may have designated time and spaces at the school. This could include, for example, a ‘parents’ room’ where informal activities may be organised at their request and/or with the help of other professionals (e.g. social workers) or school staff. The room could be used during school hours to organise talks on school and parenting issues, meetings with external specialists and professionals, workshops and other informal activities.
Schools could also organise ‘parent days’, inviting parents to visit the school, and learn more about the curriculum, activities and its values and mission.
Parents also serve as valuable resources to schools and could be invited to share their skills and expertise. Family members could be invited to volunteer in educational activities within the classroom (e.g. reading to the class, teacher’s support), or in other in-school activities (both curricular and extra-curricular, such as homework clubs and after-school programmes). Participation of parents in educational activities, including parents from different cultures or with different educational experiences, makes it possible to increase the number and diversity of interactions, which in turn accelerates the learning process; they can help learners overcome cultural stereotypes and generate more motivation. Parents and family members could also be involved in activities linked to career education and guidance, for example by talking about their profession and work experience.
Where necessary, other service providers, NGOs and professionals, such as cultural mediators, may help build positive relationships with parents, especially those who are from marginalised groups.
Opening up school facilities outside school hours for programmes and classes for parents (e.g. language classes for parents with migrant background and who do not speak the language of their children’s instruction adequately) can help increase parental involvement and break down barriers between schools and families. However, for parents with very negative past experiences of school, opportunities for lifelong learning in different locations, such as community-based centres, could be created in partnership with NGOs. Such community-based centres may also serve as 'one stop shops' for family support, with multi-disciplinary teams providing a wide range of services, including health and emotional support.
Find out more:
EU project INCLUD-ED, Strategies for inclusion and social cohesion in Europe from education, Online platform
Downes, P.,Community-Based Lifelong Learning Centres: Developing a European strategy Informed by International Evidence and Research, NESET Research paper, 2011.