Every child has the capacity as well as capability to be successful in school and in life. We as parents and caregivers can also help. So how do we help our children succeed in school and in life? TopAfric’s African Youth Education-AYE observation and research have taught us that it is just a matter of combination of preparing them to learn and how they can learn. This Means, getting involved at the earliest stage in your child’s education. Parental involvement is known to be a cornerstone for children’s future. Involvement in child’s education can considerably make a substantial difference in both academic achievement and general school life.
AYE suggests that, when parents embrace or get involved in their children’s education as early as possible it strengthens their learning competence. However, such activity has received less attention. Parent showing their children that they value education and using that in their daily lives will provide children with models which will greatly contribute to their educational achievement.
Why is parental involvement so important?
Such an activity can be linked to improvement of positive behaviour, attitudes and attendance in school. Getting involved will make a child understand the importance of education, school and its purpose. Actually, children have two educators mainly, teachers and parents. From an educational perspective, parents and family members are the prime educators before they start any sort of education out of their homes i.e. day-care, nursery, kindergarten and pre-school and school. The influences of these institutions on children remain by far the major, meaning throughout and beyond school. Therefore, parents’ involvement in their children’s education is absolutely crucial.
AYE has no specific paten of what parental involvement should be. However, parental involvement can be in m(any) form but are to be categorised into two blocks:
a)Involvement in helping the child at home and Involvement in the school itself.
b) Involvement in helping the child at home
Obviously, there are no figures that can prove that one have caused the other to happen. However, AYE’s researches on the field have demonstrated a strong relationship between parents being involved in their children education and the child’s academic achievement. Parental involvement in child’s education at the earliest stage can be equated with a better outcome. For children academic achievement, what parents do in terms of supporting the child’s education can be considered as more important than who or what parents are. For example, being a rocket scientist and not being involved in your child’s education especially at early stage, your academic credentials are worthless for the child’s development.
Learning activities at home with parents is very important for children as it boosts their development both intellectually and socially than occupation and income of their parents. Parent involving in their children’s home learning activities is very important to their child’s educational attainment as well as social behaviour. Quiet a couple of AYE research indicates that parental involvement maintains effect on academic achievement of children during adolescence and above. An evaluation programme for literacy and numeracy examined by the DEPARTMENT FOR CHILDREN SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES in the UK have also found out that there is a significant improvement in reading and writing of children known to be underperforming before parents involvement.
Other researches also hold positive views on parents helping children with their homework. This can be seen as an important aspect of educational attainment. Studies have also suggested that even for high school children (from year eight to “Abitur”) parental involvement or considering tutoring, there is a positive relation between time spent on homework and academic achievement. However, it does not necessarily mean that just the amount of time spent on homework does guarantee educational achievement. Parental involvement goes beyond help doing homework. Parent involving in their children’s learning activities at home or outside their homes (Tuition centres) or having the child tutored in its comfortable environment has shown consistent evidence of educational benefits and success for families. It is therefore parents responsible to create or help create an adequate learning environment which will also be quite useful to their children’s way of learning.
Parents involvement in the school
Research and theories have been used to explain how parental involvement in their children’s’ school can also have a positive impact on the children’s educational achievement and adjustment to school. It simply means that parental involvement in school activities such as PTA (Parent Teacher Association “Elternabend”) or even being a member of the parent representatives of your child’s school. These activities will increase access to social network and information of your child’s education and the school. Parents establishing relationship with teachers, important information about the school system, general information’s, policies, syllabus and other practices will be known. It is therefore, absolutely important for parents to actively get involved in their children’s school parent council (Elternrat).
Meeting other parents with the same interests will provide insight and expectations about the school. Depending on the network and the level of involvement, parents have opportunities to participate in any decision making process of the school policy. Parent’s participation in the representative council has a real leverage of decision making and has the right to be informed or advised on issues relating to the schools policy. The Democratic character of parents representative council can be mean more than the right to be advised of informed, it does implicate a real decision making power. Having a listening roll or an observation roll does have an influence on decision making process. This should therefore not be reduced to a picture of a less influence or leverage.
Teachers become relatively responsive and supportive to a child needs if parents are involve in both school and home. In addition, both parents and council may jointly respond to children’s challenges, practice and social inequalities even if it requires an array of approaches that parents may emotionally find it challenging to tackle. Thus, with parents participating in council activities, the process of combating or intervening issues related to discrimina tion in a school can be done effectively.
The benefits of getting involved
As parents are most likely to be very sensitive about their child’s emotional and social needs, getting involved in your child’s however comes with a whole number of benefits. Beside motivation and discipline, your involvement will create bond and strengthens your relationship with your child whilst gaining confidence in any decision making process. Parental involvement will typically and commonly include the frequency of communication with teachers as well as activities related at home and at school to support children’s educational progress.
Being involve will also lead to a stronger relationship with the school i.e. a clearer communication between both parties. The level of engagement in children’s education also determines a better support and reputations of teachers and school. Children experiencing a unified approach between teachers and parents tend to understand and accept the importance of school and education. Parental involvement bridges two elements of children’s development which is linked to settings at home and at school. As each of the settings may independently be influential to a child, both settings will offer a unique influence of the two. With parental involvement, there will be awareness of teachers’ instructional goals which will provide support and resources for learning activities at home.
AYE’s research indicates that, parental involvement result in a substantial amount of self-esteem of children and a better performance in school most importantly, when it comes to children of African heritage. Other researchers have also suggested that, children recognise and give attention to education and value it as worthy in their own interest. Parental involvement encourages communication between parents and children and can also help in decision making. Academic investigations suggest that motivated parental involvement would lead and be useful for interventions and policy changes.
Considerably, the factual predictors of children’s’ achievement will neither not be the income nor social status of their parents, but the extent in which parents are able to create an environment that will encourage their children to learn at home, whilst communicating positively, reasonable expectation with their children as well as being highly involved in their children’s education at school.
This requires commitment and dedication of parents. The benefit of this effort will well worth it for the future.