The research is clear: there are profound benefits of positive parental engagement in student learning. While we know this intrinsically, the evidence can be seen in improved academic achievement, wellbeing and productivity. Even more specifically, students whose parents are involved in their schooling have better attendance, develop more positive attitudes towards school, are more socially and behaviourally adapted and demonstrate a stronger sense of the purpose of education.
There are many ways parents support their children’s learning, both practical and emotional. On a practical level, parents assist by providing learning opportunities at home, helping with organisation and with access to resources. When parents communicate their value of learning and at the same time convey the importance of their child’s learning, it builds intrinsic motivation in young people, giving a strong foundation for learning throughout life.
In addition, parents can powerfully assist their children when there are new challenges. This includes times such as transition to new schools or year levels, helping them navigate new routines and expectations. Parental support is also vital if learning is difficult, friendships are troublesome and problem-solving is needed.
However, it is not just parents getting involved with their children at home that makes a difference: the partnership between parents, teachers and students is one of the most important ingredients of the education journey and is something the College endeavours to foster at all ages.
There are many ways to develop and strengthen these partnerships:
- attending parent-teacher interviews, with students once they are old enough
- by being familiar with STL Link, continuous reporting and the Newsletter
- through individual contact with mentors and teachers, whether by meetings, emails or telephone calls
- attending information sessions to understand educational demands and expectations at different ages and stages
- participating in parent education seminars to understand the needs of young people and parenting strategies
- being familiar with the Toward Self-Managing Student guidelines (found in Parent Learning on STL Link), which describe parents’, students’ and teachers’ roles in learning
How can we enhance these relationships for the benefit of student’s learning and wellbeing? As a College we welcome and value parents’ perspectives. It enhances our understanding of the young people in our care and we are keen to listen to concerns and insights. If we approach communication with attitudes of openness and trust, much can be gained by collaborating with common goals and understanding respective inputs.
By building great partnerships with parents, College staff – mentors, teachers, leaders – can work side by side with parents to help our young people learn, grow and become the best they can be, making the most of their opportunities now, and into the future.
Director of Pastoral Care and Senior School Counsellor/Psychologist