In cricket, two batsmen always bat in partnership, although only one is a striker at any time. The partnership between them only comes to an end when one of them is dismissed or retires, or the innings comes to a close. Batting in partnership is an important skill. It requires trust, effective communication, concentration and working towards a common goal or outcome. The success of a cricket team is built on effective partnerships.
A child’s success in education is also built on an effective partnership between the home and school.
Family-school partnerships are collaborative relationships involving staff and parents. Effective partnerships are based on mutual trust and respect, and shared responsibility for the education of the children and young people at school.
Research demonstrates that effective schools have high levels of parental and community involvement. This involvement is strongly related to improved student learning, attendance and behaviour. Family involvement can have a major impact on student learning, regardless of the social or cultural background of the family.
Family involvement in schools is therefore central to high quality education and should be part of the core business of schools.
At Illawarra Christian School we believe that parents are called to raise and educate their children. It is the parents’ responsibility to “train their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4) and to equip them to live for God’s glory. Our purpose as a school is to partner with parents in this important task.
Genuine partnership involves reciprocal accountability and support. Parents respect the training and expertise of teachers, and the school involves parents in genuine decision-making about the governance, life, practice and outcomes of the school.
Parent involvement is not limited to fundraising or classroom reading groups!
In genuine partnership, parents:
- share the mission and vision of the school
- support school policies
- contribute to building school community and culture
- ensure they meet their obligations to the school regarding communication and finances, and
- actively seek to promote the school in the wider community.
There are so many ways parents can directly work in partnership in the education of their children.
Here are a few:
1. Communicate with us!
Communication is essential to effective partnership. Parent-teacher interviews play a vital role in maintaining communication about student learning and development. We expect that parents make every effort to attend interviews and maintain communication between home and school throughout each term.
Don’t just wait for interviews or until an issue arises! Communicate regularly with your child’s teachers. Ask questions about what they are learning, the challenges and strengths that teachers are identifying and ways you can support, encourage and guide your child in their learning at home.
SEQTA is the online learning management system we use for communication between staff, students and parents. It enables parents to engage in the learning activities of their children, to be informed about their children’s progress and to communicate effectively with the school staff. Not sure how to use it? Ask us!
We want to be a community where parents and staff look to support each other, rather than working in opposition. You can help us by recognising that the staff are only human (and also, that children don’t always give their parents the whole story)! Like everyone, we sometimes make mistakes, but we have your child’s best interests at heart.
2. Engage with your child’s learning and school experience
It’s very important to talk to your child about school (even if it’s like getting blood from a stone)! Ask what they are learning. Find out about their friends and social groups. Read with them. Ask them about their assignments. Know when tasks are due.
Helping your child at home is a key way you can support the work of the school.
Be familiar with homework policies. Set aside time to read with your children, guide them in their homework and show an interest in their studies. Parents should be parents: enforce bed times so they are fresh to learn at school the next day; help children to keep things in perspective.
3. Be involved
There are so many ways you can directly support the day-to-day work of the school.
These include (among other things):
- providing assistance within the classroom context
- helping with reading in infants’ classes
- coaching sporting teams
- helping in the office or libraries
- going on excursions
- joining the Association
- serving on the school’s Board
- helping out at our fete each year
- attending school functions.
Do you have another idea about how you could be involved? We want to hear about it! Talk to us.
Uphold your child’s teachers, classmates and the wider school community in prayer. Pray with your child about their class and for their teachers.