Research shows that parent and family involvement in education leads to higher academic performance and school improvement. But that can only start if you outline your expectations for your child and get in the habit of regularly communicating your child’s educator.
Below are some tips to begin a great two-way communication with the educators in your child’s life, based on a framework developed by Joyce Epstein of Johns Hopkins University.
- Tip #1: Assist your child’s educator. Help your child’s educator better understand your background, culture and the goals you have for your child. Ask for resources that can assist you in learning more about the specific growth stage your child is entering.
- Tip #2: Open lines of communication. Reach out about your child’s progress. Gather information about new school programs and initiatives, as well as timing for planned touchpoints throughout the year. Family nights, parent-teacher conferences and open houses are all important moments to connect with your child’s educator. It is important to push for two-way communication between you and your child’s teacher to help advocate for your child’s success.
- Tip #3: Volunteer at school. Lend a hand in the classroom, at an after-school activity, in a club, or during a weekend event. This shows your child the importance of active participation in school and gives you an opportunity to build an informal relationship with the school’s educators.
- Tip #4: Promote learning in the home. Get involved in your child’s studies at home, including homework, goal-setting and more. Request information about how you can support a home environment that reflects what your child is learning in the classroom. Talk to your child’s educator about fun and interactive ways to engage with what’s happening in the classroom.
- Tip #5: Participate in decisions. Keep an eye out for any communications from your child’s school that shares school decisions. Take an active role in considering these decisions with the school in a way that helps your child and others.
- Tip #6: Collaborate with the community. Look for ways to help your child’s educators get involved with the community, especially an organization you belong to. Offer to the coordinate resources and services for the school with local groups, including businesses, nonprofit organizations and colleges or universities.
Now’s the perfect time to think about the initial conversations you want to have with your child’s educator. By being involved in your child’s education early and partnering with their teacher, you can help keep them on the path to success and set a foundation for the years of learning to come.