Why is parental engagement important?-Why is parental engagement important-MicrosoftTeams-image (81)
WRITTEN BY
Chantal Gamble
Communications
17 January, 2024

Why is parental engagement important?

Why is parental engagement important?-Why is parental engagement important-DSC00143 1
From workshops to parent-teacher meetings, how showing up makes a big difference!
Parent-teacher-student conferences, exit and entry points, performances, workshops, supporting children in sport, information sessions, and competitions - is it all that important? Well, the research tells us yes! Parental engagement with education boosts children’s grades, increases motivation, improves confidence and builds a supportive environment between school and home where the child can thrive.

Early engagement is ideal!

Engagement starts early at BIS HCMC! Given the first few years of life are a critical time for development, laying the foundation for core skills like language, social-emotional and cognitive skills, at BIS HCMC we love to engage with the parents of our youngest learners. Our baby and toddler group Fundinotots provides parents and babies a safe and enriching space to bond, play, sing and read together. Whilst parents of children as young as 2 are invited to Stay Play and Learn All Together (SPLAT) for engaging lessons with our Foundation Stage Classes. 
 
Throughout their primary years, parents have the opportunity to enter the classroom, play and learn with their children through IPC exit points, and a range of other curriculum opportunities.  As part of our International Primary Curriculum (IPC), each unit begins with an entry point, an interactive learning experience that sparks curiosity for what’s ahead, and an exit point that wraps up the unit. One of the incredible things about exit points is that parents are invited too! Exit points are not only a great opportunity for children to engage with their parents and consolidate their learning but also for parents to understand more about what their child has been up to in the classroom. So, if you are given the opportunity, we encourage you to come in and share the learning taking place.


Balancing independence as your child gets older


While parents tend to be more involved in their child’s learning in Primary school, it’s important to also strike a balance between fostering independence and providing support and guidance as your child enters secondary school. 

When our students reach Year 7, we encourage parents to take a little step back for their children to gain independence and take responsibility for their learning. While some parents may find it difficult to transition between having daily learning updates on Seesaw to weekly updates from the school, we assure you that your child is ready to start taking ownership and we provide them with everything they need to develop these skills. Of course, parent involvement here is still important! While there may be fewer opportunities for you to get involved IN the classroom, the key here is communication! Keep conversations going at home with your child about their day. We understand that pre-teens and teens may simply respond with a grunt or a reluctant “fine” when you ask them how their day was, so here’s some questions you can ask to hopefully get that conversation flowing. 

 

 

It’s also important to keep communication with us too, do your best to attend our parent-teacher-student conferences (PTSCs), and read the Head’s weekly update and emails from your child’s form tutors and heads of year when you have a spare moment. Draw from these and use this information to ask relevant questions.

What are the benefits of parental involvement?

Improved academic achievement and social-emotional development

A 2019 meta-analysis of 448 independent studies on parental involvement by the American Psychological Association (APA) found a significant relationship between parental engagement and student achievement. Parents who are actively involved in their child’s education from a young age, raise children that have more academic success in their future. 

But it’s not just academics, the APA study showed that parental engagement also had a positive impact on their child’s social and emotional skills. This is backed by a 2014 International Education Studies report on students in Jordan. Children whose parents were more involved, were more likely to be confident and enjoy learning.

Improved wellbeing

Henderson and Mapp (2002) share the importance of a collaborative environment between families and schools. This shared responsibility for their child’s progress increases a sense of belonging for the whole family, strengthens the school community and improves wellbeing.

How parents get involved at BIS HCMC:

At BIS HCMC in this term alone, we’ve held countless workshops, performances, activities and lessons where parents were invited to show up and get stuck in! 

 

Just a few weeks ago our Year 1 students invited their parents to join them for their IPC exit point as toymakers. This STEAM-based project encouraged our master toymakers (the children) to demonstrate and teach their trainees (their parents) in the art of toy engineering. Year 2 students held an exhibition for their parents, displaying their carefully crafted habitats and proudly sharing their knowledge about the unique creatures that live there. The children learned all about changes in these natural environments including droughts, bushfires and how humans impact these habitats too. As global citizens, they were keen to share with their parents their ideas for how we can protect these environments for future generations. 

Our recent Year 4 IPC exit point was a great example of child-parent-school-community engagement all in one! “What’s on the menu?” was the name of the topic that brought together our whole community. The students researched the global impact of food production and how far some ingredients must travel before it reaches us, the consumers. Each group then created their own food business, researched products that would have less environmental impact, and crafted their own upcycled packaging. They showcased their products at a Christmas bake sale where parents, teachers and other children purchased their delicious and sustainable goodies. The bake sale raised 45 million VND for our community partners. And what’s on the menu? The donations helped to provide nutritious meals for the disadvantaged children at Friends for Street Children. 


 

At Secondary our Year 7 and 8 parents joined open mornings where they had a chance to see learning in action in a variety of subjects across the secondary campus. Year 9 and Year 11 parents joined IGCSE and IBDP subject options meetings and assisted their children in making informed decisions that would shape their future. While Year 13 parents learned more about how our College and University Guidance (CUG) team assist their children in preparation for university and beyond. 

Our parent-teacher group also play a huge role in enriching our community and putting on many incredible events throughout the year that engage our children and support our community partners too. This term alone they’ve organised our Family Fun Evening, Christmas BISzaar, Secondary International Day, coffee mornings, potluck lunches for teachers, bake sales, discos, and a social night! 

How do we, as a school, support our parents? 

As a school, it’s not just our students who enjoy incredible learning experiences but our staff and parents too! Last term parents heard from online safety expert and founder of Besafe Online UK, Mr Jonathon Taylor on digital safety and Dr Ankita from Family Medical Practice on parenting in modern times. Our Foundation Stage 1 teachers also put on a series of workshops all about toddlers and how parents can manage their big emotions, behaviours and routines. We held a myth-busting Neurodiversity forum for all parents in HCMC on the topic of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Our panel Dr Vy Vu, a Psychiatrist specialising in ASD and ADHD, Truoc Huynh, an SEN teacher and Thao Khuong, a parent of a child with ASD, shared their experiences and provided a safe and open space for parents from around the city to share their thoughts, beliefs and personal experiences too. 
 
These opportunities build trust and care between school and home and open lines of communication for any concerns parents may have. If you have ideas for future workshops please let us know, we are always open to suggestions! 

What are the biggest barriers to parental engagement?


One of the biggest challenges for parents at BIS HCMC may be the language barrier. That’s why many of our parents joined an 8-week English course led by our EAL department last term. The course aimed to build on the home-school partnership by offering parents the opportunity to develop their English language skills in the context of our school. From developing vocabulary related to the classroom or campus to opportunities to discuss school policies and lessons, we are so impressed with all of our parents who completed the course! We look forward to more parent English classes to come in Term 2 and 3! 
 


Another challenge is simply time management! We understand it’s sometimes difficult to arrange the time to attend every school event with a busy schedule and that’s ok! We encourage working and busy parents to stay up to date with what’s going on in the classroom by checking Seesaw if you’re a primary parent, reading our weekly updates and talking to your child about their learning and what’s happening at school. We try to ensure a wide variety of timings for workshops and meetings with some in the evenings and on the weekend to give you more opportunities to get involved too. 

We also offer open library sessions for primary parents to read with their children every afternoon. Or take out a book and spend some time at home reading together. 

There are so many opportunities to get involved with your child’s learning at any age. While it may be challenging sometimes; build positive habits, communicate and get involved - it will make all the difference to your child now and in the future.