Dr. Joyce Epstein of Johns Hopkins University, along with a number of colleagues, developed a framework for defining six different types of parental involvement that schools, principals and teachers can use to ensure that parents are actually participating and contributing to their children’s education, well-being and futures.

The first type of involvement is called ‘Parenting’. This type of involvement is expressed when a school, teacher or principal assists families understand the growth and development of their children. They help with parenting and child-rearing skills and also establish age and grade-appropriate home conditions that support children as students.

The second type of involvement is called ‘Communication’ and involves schools taking the initiative to ensure that the families provide relevant information to schools so that educators and administrators can better understand the children and their families, and their respective contexts. This communication should be both home-to- school and vice versa, school-to-home communication in the form of school programmes and learner progress.

The third type of involvement is called ‘Volunteering’ and entails encouraging parents and family members to share their time, talents and expertise to support the school, classrooms, teachers, students and of course, their children. The volunteering does not have to happen in the actual classroom, but could include helping in the school library, after school sports programmes or even on field trips.

The fourth type of involvement is called ‘Learning at home’ and allows the family to influence, assist and participate in any and all after-school learning such as homework, projects or extra-curricular learning. This will help to foster an attitude of parental involvement and could also improve communication between learner and school.

The fifth type of involvement is called ‘Decision making’ and entails schools making provision for parents and parental figures to be involved with and actively participating in school decisions such as governance issues, classroom and financial topics, etc. This creates a sense of ownership amongst the parents and allows parents the opportunity to be actively involved in making an impact on their children’s lives.

The last type of involvement is called ‘Collaborating with the community’ and entails the schools recognizing that the broader community has a vital role to play in the education, development and well-being of its learners. Schools have the opportunity to coordinate and organize the resources of the community in such a way that it would benefit the learners.

In applying four of these types of involvement, I would be able to encourage and push parents to make positive impacts in their children’s lives, which will ultimately affect their community. When dealing with Parenting, I would host ‘family learning workshops’ at least every 2/3 weeks on topics suggested by parents themselves, these workshops should be easily accessible to all parents. I would also provide easy to read information brochures and developing home conditions that support school learning. I could also visit parent’s homes and give face-to-face advice and assistance on the topic.

When dealing with Communicating, I would schedule parent-teacher-student conferences to establish student learning goals for the year, I should certainly send home positive messages and endeavor to meet all the parents personally and communicate regularly. One way that it might be practically possible is to create a Whatsapp group where all class information can be sent and received.

When dealing with Volunteering, I could offer volunteering programmes to parents whom I know have certain skills and abilities that can benefit the school and the learners, in other words I should target the parents personally without compulsion to volunteer. I could also run a dedicated programme whereby all parents are required to invest a certain number of hours in their volunteering at the school, in some way or the other.

Finally, when dealing with the learning at home aspect, I should have specific goals and activities pre-planned that keep parents informed and supportive of their children’s homework. Having a solid plan in this department will ensure that the goals are being met. I could allow parents to borrow resources from the school in an effort to ensure that the parents are also contributing to their children learning at home.

To conclude, parents’ involvement is vital to ensure that their children excel and develop well. When parents are involved at school, home and everywhere else, it gives the learner maximum potential and opportunity to develop in a whole and wholesome manner. Parents therefore make a massive difference when they are involved in this way. 

 

Works Cited 

L. Epstein, Joyce. (2018). School, family, and community partnerships in teachers’ professional work. Journal of Education for Teaching. 44. 1-10.

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