Schools are more than just physical structures, schedules, and evaluations. These institutions are dynamic and vibrant communities with a singular aim: to equip, cultivate, and shape students for success professionally and in life at large. Studies have shown that a positive environment at school plays a monumental role in the development of students academically, socially, and emotionally.
Although schools are primarily the domain of educators, it is essential not to underestimate the equally crucial role that parents play in a student’s life. The quality of the relationship between educators and parents can significantly influence a student’s perspective on education.
A hostile or indifferent relationship between parents and educators is a sure-shot way of doing that. Therefore, these two stakeholders must collaborate as partners in education. One way to do so is for educators to create a positive and welcoming environment at school for parents.
This blog will explore a few parent engagement solutions to help you do that.
Table of Contents
- Improve Communication
- Ask Parents How They Want to Be Involved
- Spruce up Your School Environment
- Be Flexible
- Host Various Events, Academic and Social
- Pay Attention to the Little Things
III. Wrapping It Up
Why is Parental Involvement Alone Not Enough?
Involvement and engagement are two entirely different levels of parental participation in a child’s education.
- Parental involvement primarily includes participating in activities prescribed by the school. Think, helping out with homework, attending PTAs or other school events. It also involves activities that parents do independently, such as reading to their children, discussing what they learned at school, and so on.
- Parental engagement, on the other hand, involves bringing parents into the school’s decision-making process. Parents have an equal share of time with children and, in many instances, comprehend their curriculum as well as their teachers.
Collaborating closely will help create a holistic learning environment that will guarantee better learning outcomes – a fact backed by studies.
Parent Engagement Solutions to Create a Welcoming School Environment
In recent years, schools have taken massive strides to include parents in their decision-making workflow. However, there is always an opportunity for advancement, and the following parent engagement solutions could improve your results.
Improving communication is the first step toward creating a welcoming school environment. You can do so in the following ways:
- To begin with, make sure the parent’s contact information is up to date.
- Start small; teachers reaching out to parents at the beginning of the school year can go a long way in starting the parent-teacher or parent-school relationship on a positive note.
- Account for diversity; not all parents may speak the common language. Employ bi-lingual teachers and staff to bridge this gap. Localize school periodicals and learning material for further inclusion.
- Keep the communication channels open throughout the school year.
Ask Parents How They Want to Be Involved
After you have created effective communication channels and developed a relationship with the parents, the next step is to solicit their feedback on how they wish to be involved with the school. The benefits of doing so are as follows:
- You empower parents to play an active role in their education.
- It portrays that you respect and appreciate their opinions. This, in turn, will increase their confidence, satisfaction, and, finally, loyalty toward your school.
Use an interactive content platform like KITABOO to communicate important information, such as student achievements and progress reports, and solicit parent feedback seamlessly.
Reaching out to parents will also give you better insights into improving parent engagement solutions to address many needs and expectations for the remaining school years.
Spruce up Your School Environment
The next step is to spruce up your campus and make it more inviting and comfortable for parents. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- First impressions matter; make sure your campus is neat. A well-maintained campus reflects a professional attitude towards education.
- Have clear signage across the school. Also, ensure your campus is accessible to parents with disabilities and older people. Provide ramps, handrails, and any other facilities required to make your campus more welcoming to them.
- Do not forget lingual diversity. Provide translation services, interpreters, or multilingual materials/signs for parents who speak different languages.
Parents come from all walks of life; some may have the luxury of time, while others may work multiple jobs to support their families. Account for this and offer a degree of flexibility to accommodate time constraints. You could do this in several ways:
- Schedule or offer alternate dates for parent-teacher interactions.
- If possible, provide transportation for families that need it.
- You could also put forth the options for parents to visit your school before or after their work hours whenever possible.
These minute accommodations can go a long way in sending a positive message that you care.
Host Various Events: Academic and Social
One of the best ways to create a welcoming school environment for parents is to host various events and activities that bring students and their families into the school.
These events can be purely academic, such as science fair quizzes or literacy workshops, or social, such as school picnics with families, potlucks, or even cultural festivals.
The key here is simply to allow everyone involved to bond in some shape or form.
Pay Attention to the Little Things
Most of the time, the little things leave a lasting impression and can go a long way in making people feel welcome. Here are a few examples:
- If you have a diverse crowd, learn a little about their culture, their history. You could even try to celebrate important cultural festivals.
- Learn to pronounce the names of both students and their parents correctly; if unsure, don’t hesitate to ask.
- Try to accommodate the limitations of families. Not everyone may be tech-savvy or speak fluent English. Set up workshops to help them create, read, and respond to emails or provide an opportunity for non-English speakers to learn.
- Set up a dedicated helpline for parents.
Wrapping It Up
The key to creating a welcoming school environment is to develop a true partnership between educators and parents. While parent involvement is a commendable start, and granted that all of the parent engagement solutions listed here do require a ton of additional effort, the merits of engaging the parents are genuinely worth it.
To know more, write to us at KITABOO@hurix.com.
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