10 June, 2022

Parental Involvement in Education

“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents”, Jane D. Hull.

Parents know that they need to be involved in children’s education in order for the experience to be a positive one. But what does this involvement entail? Is it daily checking of Tapestry, Seesaw or Firefly? Is it daily packing and unpacking of backpacks? Is it daily logging onto GoRead or organising a tutor in Maths, Economics or Physics?

Probably not – let’s follow the teacher’s instructions in this case! If in Early Years and Primary School, we are asked to read with our children for 15 to 30 mins per day, lets make this the norm that we follow at home each evening. Even earlier, we can always practice the basics in naming colours, shapes and numbers when our children start their journey in Pre Nursery in TBS! In later years when children reach secondary school, we can endeavor to log onto Firefly in order to check on assignments, attendance and behaviour. But is this enough? This overseeing of tasks? Is this what children really need in terms of parental involvement in school?

In fact, real parental involvement goes a lot further than checking in, ticking boxes and filling in forms or reading records. Truly involved parents work to create and sustain student learning activities at home to enhance the child’s strength. When parents are involved, it is easier for family and school to collaborate through effective two-way communication, enhancing ongoing participation to build true relationships and shared responsibility.

Why is parental involvement so important for our students then? It has been proven that students whose parents are involved are more successful at school. This is basically because they feel their parents pay attention to them, which leads to higher self-esteem and self-efficacy and therefore improved classroom behaviour, exam results, attendance and social skills. But is it always good to be so involved? Is there a point at which we say parents are TOO involved?

Of course we all know the over-controlling parents, who hover over their children until homework tasks are complete, are openly unhappy when their children receive a B rather than an A in a test. This type of involvement is negative and detrimental to a child’s future success as it decreases a child’s level of intrinsic motivation and undermines the personal responsibility of the child, something schools work hard to build from very early in Primary education.

So where is the panacea of parental involvement for the students, the staff and the parents themselves? Parents’ involvement is helpful when their action shows that they value their child’s education and are not trying to be controlling. This type of involvement has been coined as autonomous and becomes more and more important the older our children get. Autonomous supportive parents focus on the learning, not the results in tests or assignments. They provide assistance and engage as determined by their children. They are sensitive to their children’s needs and are available to help with homework when requested but only when requested. Autonomous supportive parents are not only good for the child’s academic success, but they also have a positive impact on the child’s well-being, both physically and mentally.

 

SIOBHÁIN KEENAN-MACIEJEWSKA

YEAR 2 SUNFLOWERS CLASS TEACHER 

YEAR 2 LEARNING LEADER