From the Principal – 25 May 2017

Parental Engagement

It has been my great pleasure to continue to have discussions with parents regarding the strategic direction and operations of the School. A theme to which we keep coming back is the importance of school/home communication with the focus, of course, being the best academic and wellbeing outcomes for the child. There is much discussion in education literature at present regarding the nature, importance and positive (& sometimes negligible or negative) impact of parental engagement with a school.

Parental engagement may be characterized in a number of ways: high expectations, shared reading, stimulating conversations, cognitively stimulating home learning spaces, positive environment for homework, classroom involvement, strategic involvement. There is, however, little evidence that parental engagement has a direct impact on children’s learning; rather, its effects are indirect and primarily work through influencing children’s orientation towards learning – their beliefs and confidence about learning and their motivation and engagement to learn.

So what are parents to do? We know a sense of belonging to a community such as that of a school and participation in school activities can indirectly impact children’s academic outcomes by conveying to children the extent to which parents’ value and support their education. It also assists teacher-family communication. I often regard communication as the medium which oils the wheels of a highly functioning school.

I have written before that parents often know their children best, but sometimes schools know what is best for the child – certainly from an educational perspective. There is a body of knowledge associated with being a good educator and should a school or its teachers not apply that knowledge appropriately, I would argue we are being negligent. Schools, however, also need to honour and respect the knowledge parents have about their children. When working together, the result can be magic!

Again, I invite parents to communicate with me should they want to contribute to the current strategic planning process or simply to share ideas.

Ms Annette Rome