Ss Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School recognises the importance of parental engagement in children's learning, development and well-being, and that children generally do better when there are connections between the different spaces they learn in.
Parental engagement in children's learning is:
- Family-led learning focused on high aspirations for children, shared reading, a positive environment for homework, parent-child conversation, a stimulating home environment and support for social and emotional well-being; and
- Family-school partnerships that encourage positive parent-teacher relationships, communication about children's progress, and engagement in the school community, while equipping parents to effectively support and encourage their children's learning and well-being.
Parental engagement is most effective when it is focused on developing positive attitudes towards learning and education for children, building their motivation and confidence as learners and fostering their enjoyment of learning.
Parental engagement refers to the broader role parents play in supporting their child's learning. Parental engagement recognises the important role that both parents and teachers play in children's learning and development. Although involvement in school activities is beneficial in many ways, especially in facilitating relationships between parents and teachers, how parents support children's learning at home has a bigger impact on academic outcomes than participation in school-based activities.
The Impact of Parental Engagement
Parents and families are children's first teachers and they continue to help their children to learn and thrive throughout the school years. Parents as partners with school in supporting children's faith and learning can have a significant and long lasting positive impact.
Research shows benefits of parental engagement include:
- improved academic outcomes
- greater engagement in learning
- children can be more likely to enjoy learning and be motivated to do well
- children can have better relationships with other children, improved behaviour and greater confidence
- enhanced relationships with others in the school community
- greater engagement in faith practices in post-school years
- the development of effective partnerships - where families and schools can work together to address issues that may be impacting on children's well-being and achievement
Research shows that the most effective strategies for family-led learning include:
- Believing in children's potential - The most powerful thing parents can do is to show children they believe in them and believe in their ability to be successful.
- Reading together - Reading together helps children to develop and practise their reading, writing and language skills. Telling stories and talking about things that children are interested in helps them enjoy learning.
- Talking with children - Conversations are an important contributor to children's learning and development. Just spending time talking with children helps them to learn and grow. Simple ways to do this include talking about what they're learning at school and what they enjoy or find difficult.
- Supporting children to develop positive relationship with others - Parents play an important role in supporting these relationships by helping children to build and maintain a positive relationship with their teacher, helping them negotiate with peers and respond appropriately to negative experiences they may encounter.
- Learning together - Engagement in everyday activities at home like cooking or grocery shopping, or going to community events, or museums or libraries or just spending time learning with the family provides children with the opportunity to be exposed to new things, explore new areas of passion or interest and learn about their family and culture.
- Creating a positive homework environment - It is important to provide a dedicated space and time for homework, have the same rules as the school about homework and ensure parent-child interactions about homework are positive.
At Ss Peter and Paul’s, teachers are experts in learning and provide families with strategies that can help children best achieve. The partnership between the schools and parents are critical in supporting parental engagement in education. Keeping open and clear communication between families and schools is also integral in developing effective family-school partnerships.
- Parent-school communication - Communication between families and teachers about children's well-being, their progress and how parents can assist is central to enabling parents to engage effectively with their children's learning. One way to do this is to include positive news about their everyday learning as well as when children need extra help.
- Involvement in the school community - One way schools can do this is through developing and facilitating opportunities for parents to connect with the school community by attending events at school, building social networks with other parents, volunteering at school, or participating in school governance. Parents don't need to participate in activities at school to be engaged in their children's learning. How parents support children's learning at home has the biggest impact on academic outcomes. Schools can also work with parents to equip them in supporting learning at home.
Parents & Friends Association and Parent Volunteers
Our Parents & Friends Association works collaboratively with the principal and the leadership team at Ss Peter and Paul, to ensure the children benefit from the fundraising and sense of community fostered through the partnership of school and community. Read more about our P&F Association.
Parents are also encouraged to volunteer as helpers on school trips, lunch-time or after-school enrichment activities, school banking program, managing and coaching sport teams, in curriculum support (literacy and numeracy support for example, or just to be another pair of willing hands at the school disco).
Parents are connected within the digital environment through:
- Our Compass Portal to alert parents to whole-school important information – eg: change of sport day, carnival cancelation.
- School newsletters are digital and permission notes are sent electronically.
- The Class Dojo Android/Apple/Kindle app used to engage parents occasionally with what’s going on in their child’s classroom and to engage parents in special school celebrations – eg: Book Week.
- Our Facebook page and Instagram account to share updates and photos of school events and student achievements.
- Our School Website to engage parents about the programs, policies and structures which make up our vibrant, innovative Catholic school community.
Empower Together Sessions
These sessions enable parents to learn new skills in an active and engaging way that are not necessarily curriculum-based alongside their child in an informal way. For example, phonological awareness, innovation, learning a musical instrument, religious education story-telling. These sessions will occur at a variety of times and will involve students and parents collaborating together within learning experiences.
Open School Community Events
Open classroom enable parents to celebrate their child’s learning, and are held each term to celebrate the learning occurring in classrooms at Ss Peter and Paul.
We warmly invite parents to weekly assemblies that celebrates learner engagement and success, as well as significant Catholic, national and cultural events and occasions.
We also aim to engage parents and members of the community in anything that involves collaborative activity – including gardening sessions, Boys in Blue promoting, etc. We believe that more important than the nature of the activity is the engagement that is so life-giving to our students.
Playgroup Sessions and Pre-School Collaboration
Parents of future Kindergarten students engage in building relationships with school staff and each other, as well as enabling socialisation of our future students, when they attend a series of five fun-filled Playgroup Sessions in Terms 3 and 4.
Pre-schools are also invited to attend special celebration days and assemblies at Ss Peter and Paul – including National Science Week.