Knowing the expectations of both parties in the school-family partnership is an essential step in strengthening a school-family relationship based on openness and trust.
The American Psychological Association Dictionary defines expectation as an emotional state of anticipation. On the other hand, parents' expectations are an aspect of parenting attitudes and represent the hopes and aspirations they have when it comes to their children, level of education, future professional status, well-being, health, etc.
Parents are the primary and arguably the most influential educators of their children, taking responsibility for their children's physical, emotional and mental framework for lifelong learning.
The family provides their first role models for behaviour, experience and social bonds. It is a source of emotional support and information on how to overcome difficulties. It is the basis for the development of interpersonal skills, which determine their later development. Effective parenting and active parental involvement can be a challenging task at times.
The school environment is the second most important social environment on children after the family.
It is one of the groups that meets the child's existential and developmental needs. There are complex socialisation processes present in the family and school that shape the young person's cultural awareness and expression, as well as initiative and entrepreneurship.
What do parents expect from teachers?
Although parents' expectations can be tailored to the needs of each family, there are 4 main pillars that underpin all of them:
According to the pyramid of needs developed by Maslow, at the base of the pyramid, in addition to physiological needs, are safety needs. Thus, without being and feeling in a safe place, a context conducive to learning and development cannot be created. Parents expect school to be that safe place for their children, physically, emotionally and mentally.
2. Learning. Academic progress
In fact, the main function of school - learning - is also at the top of parents' expectations of school. They want their own children to improve more and more in terms of school performance, to be supported by the whole school community and thus to be in a continuous process of development.
show that parents take overwhelming responsibility for a child's upbringing, but at the same time they perceive the school as being primarily responsible for the child's education and academic progress.
On the other hand, very often parents can also be part of this learning process, learning new things about their child's education and new activities they can do at home to better support their child's development.
3. Emotional and social development
The foundations of emotional and social development
are formed early in the family, but parents expect teachers, as educational experts, to make a significant contribution to this stage of development through modern and effective methods and techniques. The expectation is that through activities and events, children will learn more about themselves, their emotions, self-discovery, but also about their peers, forming working groups and friendship groups.
Through an effective school-family partnership, pupils are equipped with social skills that will enable them to act independently in adult life.
The key to an effective school-family partnership is communication, open two-way communication, both from parents to school and vice versa. Transparency can bring many benefits to this whole partnership, which is designed to provide a context for children's development and learning. If communication is constant, then the family is more involved in the child's education and can intervene when necessary. Kinderpedia supports the school-family communication process with facilities ranging from much quicker individualised messages to messages for the whole parent group and even crisis alerts.
What do teachers expect from parents?
1. Preparing children for school
From the very first days of school or kindergarten, the need for children to settle
in is involuntary. They are confronted with a new environment, new people, new activities and often moments of fear, anxiety, crying or anger arise. These moments not only affect the child, but also the teachers and parents. In order to overcome the barriers to settling in as easily as possible, the family can help the child get used to the idea of kindergarten or school by telling them stories and doing different activities to help them settle in during the first days of the school year.
When we talk about preparing for kindergarten or school, we are also referring to the constant preparation for the learning process your child is going through:
2. Support children's progress at school
All children need to feel supported at all times, regardless of achievement. Recent research indicates that increased parental involvement in their children's education results in higher academic performance of children (Fehrmann, Keith, & Reimers, 1987; Griffith, 1996; Scott-Jones, 1996; Watkins, 1997). Student motivation and self-efficacy are closely related to the involvement their family
has in the whole educational process (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 1995; Hoover-Dempsey, Walker, & Sandler, 2005).
At the same time, research shows that teachers' expectations are also closely related to student outcomes. While high teacher expectations have positive effects on student performance, low expectations are recognized as a contributing factor to student failure more often than not. (Good and Nichols 2001).
3. Respect the school
According to Dr. Kenneth Shore, teachers learn very quickly that they cannot do the work alone to educate students and that they need the help of parents. Of course, teachers want parents to monitor their children's school work and offer help where needed, but perhaps what they want most is for parents to convey to their child respect for the teacher and the school. Conveying a desire to learn, to explore, is vital to their motivation to be actively involved in school activities.
And for good reason: children generally do better in school when their parents encourage respect for the status and competence of the teacher, but also when they see parents and teachers working as a united team towards the same goals. Parents' vote of confidence in the teacher gives the teacher some of their authority and increases students' responsiveness.
4. Follow school rules
Like any institution or organisation, the school has its own set of rules, built for the benefit of the whole community, to ensure safety, well-being and efficient organisation of processes. If parents talk openly with their children about the school rules, show that they care and respect them, pupils will tend to do the same.
Teachers and school managers expect parents to understand the need for these classroom or school rules and to respect them, leading to a smooth running of all activities.
5. To be involved in the activities carried out in the school
Both teachers and school managers want parents to be involved and proactive, both in the children's day-to-day activities in school and when it comes to non-formal activities. Active family involvement in educational activities will also stimulate children's involvement.
A study in Italy examined the extent to which parents had an impact on their children's well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parental involvement was defined as crucial especially in terms of stress and levels of well-being. Parents' stress level affected how students experienced the new learning environment: the more stressed their parents felt, the more negatively they perceived distance learning.
When parents understand the importance of their presence at school activities, they volunteer their time and energy to support this process. When their commitment to the common goal is carefully considered and appreciated, they become part of the class and decide to co-create the school climate.
For the school, they are the basic social capital and support for the students' efforts. Mutual respect, trust and cooperation strengthen pupils' educational work, which gives them a chance of success in learning.
Teachers and parents who look for ways to improve their children's school experience and turn it into an open dialogue have the chance to create a climate that fosters changes that are beneficial to children's harmonious development.
By taking joint action, they set an example of effective communication and problem-solving skills. At the same time, they prepare a new generation of pupils for the challenges of the future (Gajdzica, 2008).
"There is no better way to create a strong relationship with parents than to include them in the school's work and develop comprehensive forms of cooperation, giving them the opportunity to "immerse" themselves in the school atmosphere and experience the educational process their children are participating in." Piotrowska-Gromniak, 2018
How Kinderpedia supports family engagement in children's education
Technology is here to support learning. On one hand by facilitating access to quality education, relevant content and timely interactions between students and teachers, and, on the other, by simplifying communication and collaboration between schools, nurseries and families.
, parents find out in real time how their children’s day at school or nursery went: from attendance, grades, assignments, to mood, participation, or how much they ate and slept, in the case of younger students. When they are aware of their children’s projects and progress at school, parents can continue the educational process at home and support their children where they need it. Kinderpedia creates the environment for an effective partnership between school and family and places the student-teacher-parent collaboration right at the heart of learning.