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Learning Care Group News: April 28th, 2022

How to Get Involved in Your Child’s Education

Create Connections

The more involved you are with your child’s education, the more they’ll excel in every facet of learning with your consistent support and encouragement. Strong partnerships between home and school also foster a sense of community and belonging.

Over the years, family involvement has evolved significantly.

Traditionally, it has included helping children with homework and signing up for classroom parties or field trips. While both things are still important, family involvement goes well beyond that now. According to the National Alliance for Secondary Education and Transition, “family involvement serves to promote and support the social, emotional, physical, academic, and occupational growth of youth.”

Simply put, a more holistic approach benefits the whole child.

At least 50 studies on the topic all highlight benefits such as a decrease in behavior concerns, increases in attendance, and increases in cognitive and social-emotional development, not to mention helping to create a lifelong love of learning.

It is also important to note that families may include other central people in the child’s life, not just the traditional nuclear family. Children benefit from having multiple people involved in their education. Feel free to encourage anyone the child would consider family to play a role in their educational journey, such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, stepfamilies, etc.

Here are a few ideas on how to create a deeper connection:

Attend School Events – Families are typically offered a variety of ways to show up for their child throughout the school year. Leaders try to stagger the times of various events to increase the likelihood that parents or loved ones can attend.

  • Daytime: Classroom celebrations, grandparent days, holidays, field days, etc.
  • Evening: Curriculum nights, open houses, spaghetti dinners, etc.
  • Extracurriculars: Sports, choir, band, theater, etc. Attend as a spectator yourself, but also consider inviting extended family or close friends whenever possible. Consider attending these types of events with your child even if they aren’t directly participating to further grow your connection to the school community.

Become a Guest Reader – Younger children really enjoy having loved ones come in to read to them and their friends. It’s an exciting moment that makes them feel proud, even at the infant and toddler levels.

  • Work with your child’s teacher to choose a time that best fits your schedule, they’re usually quite happy to be accommodating.
  • If virtual options still linger after the pandemic, use it as an opportunity to involve family members who may live in other places as a nice surprise.

Share a Hobby or Your Career – Sharing an activity, your passion, or an area of expertise with your child and their classmates is a great way to connect, create relationships, and show support.

  • Plan a simple demonstration such as crafting, photography, baking, etc.
  • Share career-inspired tips such as demonstrating how to brush teeth properly (hygienist or dentist), providing art tutorials (artist or illustrator), or showing tools and pictures of vehicles (carpenter or mechanic). The options are endless!
  • You could even offer to combine an after-school activity with your hobby or career. For example, help arrange a safety night to talk about fires, booster seats, or bike riding.

Share Cultural Items – Representation in the classroom is arguably one of the most important pieces of inclusion. Sharing items that represent your child’s home life can be very valuable. Doing so also gives the other children and the teacher(s) a chance to learn more about your family and cultural roots.

  • Take photos of special items and share the unique history with the class.
  • Share songs, music, books, or other items of interest.
  • Ask about options to share food, articles of clothing, traditions, etc.

Elevate Communication – Consistent communication with your child’s school provides a way for both families and teachers to share goals, anecdotes, and reassurances. It also allows for a foundation to be built for a partnership between families and teachers. While families with younger children are commonly informed of care routines daily, older children don’t often receive daily updates.

  • Show your interest and support by corresponding regularly via phone, email, notes, or school apps, like SproutAbout.
  • Make attending scheduled conferences throughout the year a priority.

Use this list as a starting point and see what other ideas you come up with. Share your interests with your child’s teacher or school leadership to see if there are other helpful ways you can get involved.

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