It is often said that a child’s education starts at home, so why is it when our children go to school that we often feel we have relinquished all rights to input into their learning?
A positive and collaborative home-school relationship is pivotal in creating a supportive environment which encourages learning. Over the years society has become more complicated and these relationships have all too often degenerated. Unfortunately, in many communities, educators and parents just do not seem to have enough time to get to know one another and establish relationships on behalf of the children. Sometimes parents feel discouraged from visiting classrooms and teachers rarely consult with families unless a child is in trouble. The result of this situation is a clear division of home and school with misunderstanding, uncertainty and a lack of mutual respect. This can ultimately lead to a vicious cycle of teachers blaming the parents and parents blaming the teachers which, of course, is a worst-case scenario but it highlights the idea that when parents and teachers are active partners in a child’s education there is more chance of success.
So how do we produce a strong home-school connection that will set the stage for a child who will grow up with a love for learning? The resounding answer is clear and authentic communication. The problem, however, is that it needs to occur from both ends to be most effective. Families need to be interested, invested, available and realistic. They need to ensure they speak positively about the school, show how they value education and be willing to accept suggestions and praise. Teachers need to be approachable, open-minded, considerate and available. They must ensure they take the time to get to know the students and share their observations and understanding with families whilst showing respect and involving families in the child’s learning process. If you put these things together it is a recipe for success which will ultimately lead to a home-school relationship conducive to well-being and learning for the student.
As featured in: Glenmore Gazette, Emu + Leonay Gazette, Mulgoa Gazette, Oran Park Gazette & Jordan Springs Gazette - April '18
Sara Drebber is an educational consultant, teacher, writer and mother of three.