In today’s society where one must work hard to provide for their family, most parents work outside the home leaving little time to invest in their child’s education. In our child care center greater part of the children have special needs and receive early intervention. Most of the parents work long hours and some even have two jobs making it difficult to participate in the center activities. Although the center has tried different methods to increase parent involvement such as making reminder telephone calls and sending notices home, the participation level continues to be much lower than anticipated.
No matter how little time a parent may appear to have they must make the effort to be involved in their child’s center activities. I sometimes feel the pressure of being involved in my children’s education; so I can see why some parents are not. It is not easy to balance work, home life, and your child’s center activities, but it is tremendously worth it. Many of the parents that do not participate always use work as an excuse. The center has tried to accommodate these parents by holding meetings and activities in the evening after the scheduled pick up time, yet parents still fail to show up.
Being involved in my child’s education allows me to communicate on a regular basis with my child’s teacher to let me know how she is progressing, and if there is anything that she may need help with. I believe that participation on the parents end also gives the child motivation to excel. The level of parental involvement depends on various factors including, culture, socio-economic standing and the parents own personal experience.
Research supports that strong parent involvement in education is one of the essential factors for cognitive, socio-emotional development, and the success of children in education (Ritblat , Beatty, Cronan, & Ochoa, 2002). In my opinion, ignorance is the biggest reason why parents in our center do not participate. The socio-economic status of families plays an important role in the academic performance of their children (Ritblat, Beatty, Cronan, & Ochoa, 2002). Since the children at our center are considered to be at risk for various reasons, the main reason being poor economic standing; I believe he parents just lack knowledge and understanding. Going back to their own childhood experiences where their parents were not involved, and poor thinking like “it’s the teacher’s job” to make sure their child gets adequate care and a good education, equals to unhealthy parent teacher relationships, and creating a bad influence for their children who in turn will most likely do the same once they become parents. The chain reaction must be broken! I have concluded that parents at our center are truly unaware what a difference they can be making in their child’s life by being an active participant in their education.
In order to get the “busy” parents involved, I have suggested that we create a portfolio of the child’s weekly progress to send home on Fridays for the parents to review over the weekend. The parents will have to sign the portfolio as well as complete an activity pertaining to the lessons learned that week with the child that will be due on Monday. I have also suggested that we hold quick mini sessions fifteen minutes prior to starting class in the morning for parents who cannot make the evening sessions.
I truly believe that making these small adjustments will increase the parent involvement. The parent involvement plan I have created provides great flexibility for parents to get involved in the center’s activities. The center will hold an Annual Meeting designed to inform parents of the center’s programs. The center will create flyers to post on all the bulletin boards and doors, as well as give parents invitations. A sign in sheet at the meeting will also be provided. The meeting will also be uploaded onto the center’s website where parents who cannot attend may view at home.
Parents who do not have internet access may come into the main office and view the presentation there in addition to collecting the meeting information and parent resources that were provided at the meeting. A monthly newsletter posted on the center’s website and emailed to parents directly providing guidance and various home strategies will also be available . A print version will also be provided for those families without internet access. Parents will also be encouraged to visit the classroom, and will be given opportunities for participation in decisions related to the education of their child.
Parent involvement in their child’s education is extremely important. Not only are they showing the child they care, but also showing them that school is important. Many parents in early intervention programs work long shifts making it almost impossible to be involved in their child’s center activities. However, making some minor adjustments to their schedule will make their time count. Parental involvement can truly make a world of difference for both the parent and child.