More recent research commissioned by charity Parentkind, tells us many parents do work with schools on a regular basis (81 per cent) with the majority (85 per cent) saying they want to do even more to support their children’s education, but some are unsure how to do it. The good news is there are plenty of little things you can do at home and at school to make a difference.
Parentkind supports and champions all parents to get involved in education and school life so that every child can thrive and reach their potential. Here, acting CEO of Parentkind, Michelle Doyle Wildman gives her top tips on how parents and guardians can help their children flourish at school.
- Talk positively about education
“Children learn most from the people they are closest to. They often mimic their family, friends and teachers, including attitudes and behaviour. Whether school was a good experience for you or not, talking positively about school and learning can raise a child’s aspirations. Letting them know that there are no limits to what they can do and who they can be, can really encourage them to work hard and enjoy school.
“Getting them to school on time and regularly attending parents evening, are two ways that will show your child the value you place on their education.”
- Get involved in school life
“Get to know your child’s school, how it works and how you can make a difference. Establishing a good relationship with teachers is a great way to find out how to support your child at home and also shows your child that you are interested in their school life and learning.
“There are lots of ways to engage with the school which suit both working parents and those whose time is more flexible.
“These range from attending school plays, assemblies, helping the PTA/ Parent Council, volunteering to read with children and helping with school trips.
“There is also lots you can do online, for example sign up to the school newsletter, app or Facebook page, get to know what’s happening at the school by visiting the website, respond to surveys and communicate with the school in a way that suits you.”
- Bring learning in to everyday activities
“There are lots of ways to introduce learning into everyday life. For example, ask your child to help you with gardening and give them a flower bed, patch or pot to look after; suggest they help you cook and get them reading the recipes and measuring ingredients; or if you are planning a day out, why not visit somewhere that ties in with a school topic. You could even show them the value of learning by trying something new yourself!”
- Read with your child
“Evidence shows that reading with your child and encouraging them to read for pleasure has an extremely positive impact, the government’s Education Research Standards Team found “a positive relationship between reading frequency, reading enjoyment and attainment”.
“This includes reading to them as well as listening to them read to you. Whatever your child’s age, there are lots of easy ways to make reading part of daily life – so as well as stories at bedtime, encourage them to read cereal packets, top trumps, magazines and joke books – they all count. If you’re looking for new books, consider buying reading material focussed on their interests like football or a TV character and create a comfortable, distraction-free reading nest at home. Finally, make sure your child sees you reading for pleasure too.”
- Supporting with Homework
“Supporting your child with their homework is a great way to show them you value their education. It can be as simple as finding a quiet spot for them, making sure they have had a snack so they are not hungry, and sitting with them when they are little to give them the help they need. As they get a bit older however it’s important not to forget whose homework it is! Don’t just give them the answers, allow them time and space to get things wrong and try again!”
“We know some parents worry that they don’t have the skills to help their child properly, but this is where having a good relationship with your child’s teacher, who can guide you or point you in the direction of helpful online resources, can make a big difference.”
For further information on how to get involved in your child’s education, visit: www.parentkind.org.uk