family involvement in education

Family involvement in education


18 November, 2021

Family involvement in education brings many benefits to the child's emotional development, helping them to create harmonious relationships with those around them.

When parents are actively involved in education and communicate with educators and teachers in a supportive way, children do better in school and are more likely to become successful adults, a study by the Global Family Research Fund, a project supported by Carnegie New York, shows. The research highlights how important family is, not just when it comes to what or how much children learn, but also how they learn. The study confirms that family involvement in education is a strong predictor of development, learning, and success in school and throughout life. It underlines, for both children and communities, how important family support is in the learning process. This active participation is, in fact, a key strategy in achieving educational equity and social justice - goals that are more relevant than ever.

 

Children's early need to have their parents with them may become less obvious as they grow up, but it does not disappear or diminish in intensity. The initial need for security and attachment turns into a need for guidance, to be seen and appreciated. Children blossom under the gaze of family and feel invincible when they receive encouragement from those close to them. Modern schools and kindergartens harness this extraordinary relationship and bring as much of its catalytic potential to education as possible. In this way, healthy and strong links are built between school and family, forming competent, balanced, confident adults.  

 

Children who enjoy parental support do better at school

Family involvement in education takes place in a variety of settings - at home, in schools, and community spaces such as libraries, museums, learning centers, and after school.

Research shows that when families are consistently involved in education from early childhood through the high school years, children do better in school. School-family collaboration is truly effective when it brings educators, teachers, communities, and parents together under the common mission of facilitating learning.

When the relationship between parents and teachers is characterized by trust, mutual respect, open communication, and participation in decision-making, families have more confidence in their role as facilitators and become more involved in their children's learning. Good relationships between educators and parents benefit children's health, socio-emotional well-being, and cognitive skills. But these relationships are not built overnight and effortlessly but are shaped by a community's culture, beliefs, social norms, and economic resources.

 

Family involvement in education spreads from the family to the community, to society as a whole

Families are encouraged to make education a priority and communities are encouraged to create the right conditions for it. Involvement of families brings benefits to society as a whole when each family ensures that their children and others have access to 21st-century information, and acquire skills that are relevant in the labor market, but also in their personal lives, their social lives, and their lifelong development.

How can we build the next generation of engaged parents and communities? How can we provide equitable ways for children to learn both in and out of school, from birth to adulthood, to ensure their success in life?

The study highlights five high-impact areas in building family engagement strategies in education: attendance registration, academic and social development, digital tools, and transition periods.

Family involvement in education is the most effective way to combat truancy

Children who miss school in the early years continue to do so later. They are likely to miss key moments in their early years (reading, for example), fall behind, and then drop out. Families play a crucial role in tackling truancy, firstly by explaining to children why they should go to school and secondly by making sure that their expectations are met.

Focusing attention on attendance leads to another important issue: sharing information about children's school progress with their families. This strategy has a positive impact on family involvement in education. When parents receive accessible and clear information about their children's progress at school - about absences or poor grades, for example - they can talk to their children in an informed way, and the results are very tangible: attendance and grades improve.

 

Digital communication tools are the glue that builds the partnership between teachers and parents

Technology gives children the opportunity to learn anywhere and anytime using digital tools such as tablets, smartphones, computers, and more. All these devices allow parents to keep up to date with their children's school work in a way never before possible.

Kinderpedia is a communication and education management app that gives parents real-time information about how their little ones' day at school or nursery went: from attendance, mood, participation, to how much they ate and slept, in the case of younger children. The app allows teachers, right from their smartphone, to record real-time observations of each child's activity and analyze them in an individual progress sheet, tailored to each educational curriculum. Based on this sheet, teachers can structure their feedback to families and highlight areas where children are excelling and where they need support.

Through technology, pupils have access to educational content that is varied, interactive, and relevant to the times we live in.

Family involvement in education can help children learn healthy digital habits and become fluent in this modern language, learn how to use technology safely, weigh whether the information is true and relevant, create content, make new social connections and collaborate with others to solve problems and innovate.

 

Through conversations about feelings and relationships they have with parents, children learn how to manage their emotions

Today, more and more fields are starting to encourage gender equality - the humanities, but also STEM subjects. Students, teachers, parents - we've all realized in the last year that learning happens anywhere and anytime, not just in schools. So the presence of parents takes on many roles: teacher, assistant, learning partner.

Research shows that when families read together at home and have conversations every day, children develop their language faster, pick up ideas from texts more easily and form critical opinions.

Beyond one-to-one support in specific subjects, families also offer children opportunities for social-emotional development. When parents talk to their children about their feelings, relationships, and friendships, and focus on effort rather than results, children and teenagers learn how to keep calm in emotionally charged situations. They build a flexible, adaptable mindset and learn how to become persistent. These skills are good predictors of school progress and, at the same time, keep children from extreme behavior.

In the long run, family involvement in education contributes to higher educational attainment and the ability of future adults to hold down a job and play a valuable role in society.

 

The beginning of kindergarten, school, the transition from primary to secondary school, and high school are periods of great vulnerability in which family involvement is essential.

It is extremely important to focus attention on families and communities during transition periods - the start of kindergarten, school, the transition from primary to secondary school, then to high school and university. These are the times when families need information and tools to support them. As children grow up, their world expands. Strong relationships are crucial during these times of transition. Parental involvement in education tends to decrease after children start school, but it should remain constant until children reach adulthood.

 

When children have a smooth transition process in the early years, their academic performance in later years is positive. They develop social-emotional skills, have fewer behavioral problems, and acquire skills more easily.

 

Family involvement in education creates social equity

When we talk about children's chances of learning to their ability, we need to bear in mind that they are always learning, anywhere, anytime. Families play key roles in the activities through which children learn, from birth to adulthood, and schools and communities have a role to play in supporting and empowering families to create equal learning opportunities.

From the outset, it is crucial to recognize that poverty and discrimination based on race make it difficult to create equitable learning environments for children. Without awareness and removal of stereotypes and the mindsets that embrace them, children cannot reach their full developmental potential, no matter how hard families work to involve children in school.

This requires an overview, but also an in-depth look at the habits, beliefs, and routines that accompany families in every corner of the world.

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