By Jessica Vician
You’ve prepared your child to start school by getting him or her into the back-to-school routine, buying school supplies, and sharing how to make a good impression on his or her new teacher(s). But have you thought about your role in the process once school starts?
Parents need to be just as prepared as students for back to school, making an effort to have a positive and open relationship with teachers and administration and practicing effective parent engagement at school and at home.
Parent Engagement at School
- Introduce yourself to teachers and administration.
At the beginning of the school year, attend any parent-teacher meeting opportunities to introduce yourself to your child’s teacher(s). If there aren’t any formal opportunities, arrive at school early in the first week to introduce yourself to the teacher and administration.
- Share contact information and ask how the teacher prefers to communicate.
Taking this initiative demonstrates to the teacher that you are proactively open to communicate about your child’s successes and/or concerns.
- Volunteer in the classroom or at the school.
If you have time to volunteer as a classroom aide, to help at a classroom party, or chaperone a field trip, you can demonstrate to the school that you are an engaged parent while also demonstrating to your child that you are invested in his or her education.
- Request parent engagement training.
The YOU Program, which is the parent engagement program upon which YOU Parent is based, offers various forms of training so that parents can learn how to best practice parent engagement with their children. You can learn the basics in a parent workshop and become a parent leader and train other parents at the school after attending a parent leadership training workshop.
Ask your principal about offering these workshops in your school, as they can boost student achievement by enlisting parent support.
Parent Engagement at Home
In addition to practicing parent engagement at school, you must also practice it at home by attending to your child’s needs while building the foundation for academic success.
A child requires all four of his or her core needs to be met in order to live a successful life, so parents must nurture a child’s social well-being, emotional well-being, physical health, and academic development.
You can do that by practicing these eight parent engagement activities and asking yourself:
- Are you paying attention to your child’s social and emotional well-being?
- Are you making sure he or she is living a healthy life?
- Are you coordinating with your child’s teacher to foster academic success outside of the classroom?
- Are you modeling the behavior you want to see in your son or daughter outside the home?
By asking these questions and making a good impression at your child’s school, you’re already on the path to parent engagement success. Get involved and support your child’s needs to make this school year a great one.