Early Childhood

Inspiring Parent involvement

I am currently a pre-service teacher and have been receiving a lot of teaching on the importance  of parent involvement. In situations where you feel as if the parent(s) do not have much to do with their child’s education, what strategies have you seen work successfully to get them involved? Thank you

Ryan McQuade
Ryan McQuade
255 Activity Points

Hi Ryan! -- This is a topic that many are interested in, but parental "involvement" needs to be defined and understood before jumping into strategies. This blog may give you ideas to think about: Facilitating Parental Support. -- Mary B. 

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
10110 Activity Points

Hi Ryan!

I'm also a pre-service teacher and I have also worked at a preschool for 3 years. We have pretty low parent/family involvement, but it started to get better when we started to communicate more with the families. To start, we always made sure that parents knew that we wanted to be partners in their child's learning. When we asked them to get involved we started off with small things such as cutting paper out or saving water bottle caps for an activity. However, we have always offered a variety of ways for the parents to get involved. For example, chaperoning, coming into the class to read a story, or even bringing in a snack for the students. This way, parents can get involved without needing to stray too much from their normal schedules, take off from work.

Also, I think it's important to look at the culture of your students and their families. Are you in a community that values the teacher as the expert, where parents might not see the need to be as involved? Do a lot of your parents have multiple jobs or jobs that require a lot of time and energy? If you do offer involvement options, do parents know about them? Is there a better way to get that information to parents and families?

Hope that helps!

Kaitlyn Kukino
Kaitlyn Kukino
660 Activity Points

Hi Ryan, 

Getting parents involved can be a bit tricky sometimes. Most parents will claim to not have the time, and other parents will have the time but aren't able to help their child due to certaing barriers such as language. Despite the difficulties there are ways to get parents involved. One thing i would suggest is to have weekly meetings with the parents. Keep the parents updated with whats going on in their childs life. Even parents who are "busy" want to know whats going on in thier childs classroom. Let parents know the postive things their child has done throughout the week. Another suggestion would be to give the parents volunteer opportunites. If there is ever an event or classroom outing, invite the parents to volunteer and support thier child. Give the parents a chance to hang out with thier child even if it is in ad educational setting. Doing so will allow the parent to be more intuned with thier childs education. 

Neimana Herard
Neimana Herard
450 Activity Points

Hi, I am currently a pre-service teacher as well.  I have been taught all throughout college the importance of getting parents involved and I actually did a powerpoint last year and one of my main topics was parent involvement!  Throughout the powerpoint is different ways that we were able to brainstorm the ways we can get parents involved! I cannot find the link, but I know some of the things that we thought of were sending home newletters, having a parent night once a month/quarter, utilizing technology (parent/student forumns, social media, different apps, etc)

Hope this helps!  

Ashalenia Graham
Ashalenia Graham
985 Activity Points

Hi Ryan! I am also a pre-service teacher and I'm placed at a school that tries really hard to involve parents in the school lives of their students. Some examples of this that I've seen so far are the usual, parent chaparones for field trips, bringing in snacks for birthdays, or room parents/parent donations. I've also seen the school and teachers ask for parent volunteers to help with Fun Fairs so the parents are able to see their children in a different context.

As for science related volunteers, my mentor teacher had actually asked parents to help with a STEM project called the Cardboard Challenge. Every Tuesday and Wednesday at the end of the day for a few weeks, parents would sign up to help the students plan and build their projects. At the end of the project, all of the parents were invited into the classroom to play and interact with the students' projects. 

I think an important aspect to getting parents involved is by effectively communicating with them and constantly giving them opportunities to be involved even when the involvement levels are low. Also, keep in mind the form of communication is important. Some parents prefer communicating through digital platforms such as the ClassDojo app, class websites, emails, etc. While others may prefer being notified through communication folders with paper reminders. It's very important to keep in mind that many parents are busy with work or other commitments especially if there are siblings involved! 

Charisse Rubio
Charisse Rubio
705 Activity Points

I really like your idea of involving students in the project! I feel like giving them patial responsibility for the projects makes them get involved and because of this will make them want to come to the school to help present the project that they had a part in.  Great idea! Thank you also for the apps.  Those are helpful!

Ashalenia Graham
Ashalenia Graham
985 Activity Points

Hi Ryan!

   I am currently a junior at Radford University and am studying elementary education. Even though I am a student myself, I have been involved with the schools system for many years through internships, volunteering, and jobs. I have heard many teachers say how hard it is to get parents involved in their classroom. My mom is a teacher and one thing that she does is "meet the teacher day". It's separate from back to school night and it gives parents a chance to interact with their child's teacher and get to know them on a personal level. This helps the parents break barriers down tha they may have in order to have involvement. I have not had this issue because I am not a teacher myself, but I know that parent involvement is an issue in my county along with it's surrounding areas. 

Abigail Weaver
Abby Weaver
435 Activity Points

Hello Abby!


I am also in my junior year of college, and one way of getting parents involved in the classroom that I have seen in my field experience is different apps like Class Dojo or Bloomz. These apps make it incredibly easy to post pictures of what the student is doing in school and allows the parents to keep up in the classroom if they are not able to volunteer their time due to work or other obligations. I really like the idea of having a 'meet the teacher' night only for the parents. in my opinion, that would allow the teacher to make longer lasting and more meaningful relationships with the parents. Along with that, the longer lasting relationships will lend themselves to more parental involvement in the classroom. When the parents know their child’s teacher as a person, I believe it will make it much easier for the parents to trust the teacher and what they are doing in the classroom.

 
Best Regards,


Elizabeth Sheets
Wartburg College
Class of 2021

Elizabeth Sheets
Elizabeth Sheets
55 Activity Points

Hi Ryan!

I think that parent involvement is an very important part of a student's success. I think the first thing to do would be to have string communication between you and the parent. I also think that having meetings with them throughout the school year is a great way to keep them updated on how their child is doing in the classroom. Having opportunities to have them come into the classroom is also a great way to get them involved. You can do this with classroom parties and even field trips are a great way to have them interact! Sending homework home with the student that involves them asking their parents questions or projects that require a parent's help is also a great way to see the parents participating with their child!

Katrina Wright
Katrina Wright
405 Activity Points

Hi Abby! 

 

I love the idea of parent involvement, I believe this is one of the many crucial necessities to ensure a student's educational success. I believe that communication is key, making sure that parents always know what is happening in the classroom, and that they are receiving constant feedback on the student's educational process. I believe that it is the educator's job to establish with the parents what would be the best form of communication, as some parents would prefer an email rather than a phone call or in-person meeting or vice-versa. 

 

Best of luck! 

Jennifer Montoya
Jennifer Montoya
440 Activity Points

Hello!

I believe parent involvement is a critical component in a child's education. Many strategies to increase parent participation are suggested. The first strategy is to send weekly emails of what the students are learning and expected tasks to complete. Make sure parents sign off on homework. The school community should make parents comfortable in participating by inviting and accepting all cultures and backgrounds. Having cultural celebration events at school can welcome the parents and diversity in the community. However, when planning these events, be certain that misconceptions of one's culture are not present at the event. Being well informed and doing research are the most important things to consider before hosting these events. 

Leticia Vasconcelos
Leticia Vasconcelos
1025 Activity Points

Hello, 

I have also been recieving a lot of instruction in increasing parent involvement within the classroom. We all know that parent involvement is essential for student success, but I am struggling on how to involve parents that are already very busy and also don't speak English. One thing that my mentor teacher did to promote parent involvement was to put together small opportunities for the family to spend time together such as family yoga night. Even though it is not academic, it is crucial to give parents and students meaningful opportunities to connect with the teacher. Another thing that I think is essential is invorporating a communication mean with the parent and share with them highlights about their students so that they know that you are there to support their student. 

Good luck, 

Dani

Danielle Moss
Danielle Moss
560 Activity Points

Learning doesn’t end in the classroom, yet most parents are at a loss when it comes to supporting their children’s intellectual development. Many try to do too well and hover around them when they do homework, which can stifle creativity and self-development. Others let them roam free and hardly monitor their progress. For teachers, involving parents boosts positive self-perception and job satisfaction. The challenge is to help them understand how they can help their child succeed. Here are three strategies to involve parents in children’s education. Provide information and ideas about how to best assist with homework and other curriculum-related activities. Encourage reading at home by creating a custom reading list based on the child’s personality, interests, and level.

Yamel Abreu
Yamel Abreu
2970 Activity Points

Family involvement is a huge component of teaching.  The first question is for you and your school to ask is what are the goals of the involvement?  Is it to give families more of a voice about life at school?  Is it to have them help their children academically outside of school?  Is it for the families to provide resources for classroom explorations?  Once you have identified the goals, then you can start looking at strategies, bearing in mind that involvement to you may look different than it does to the families.  Finding out how and when the families want communication is a huge factor also.  Asking them if there are barriers, such as transportation, schedules, etc.  All of this leads to developing a strong relationship with your families, with lots of honest and positive communication.  Even if the communciation starts as mostly one sided, it provides a positive window into the child's world at school

All of the above sounds vague, but is a necessary step.  At my school, we decided we wanted the parents to work on both social emotional skills as well as cognitive.  We use the Pyramid model, so can easily send out their backpack conenctions to work with social emotional.  For the cognitive, in each weekly story, we include a family activity tied to what is going on in the classroom.  We regualrly ask families if we could be reaching them / including them in better ways.  This has led to a variety of family events through the year, some scheduled when school opens, others during traditional lunch time, others after school with babysitting provided.

After the "big" events such as those above, I have found that most families then feel as if they are a part of their child's school life and ask for additional ways to become involved.

Even if the families don't ask or seem invovled, listen to what your students are saying, and take heart.  Everyone has crazy times and can't always do what they want as far as involvement.  But they always appreciate and remember a welcome!

 

Anne

 

Anne Lowry
Anne Lowry
5700 Activity Points

Also, check to see if you local library system offers the museum passes.  That can be a low cost way for families to visit local discovery centers, planetariums and other museum like settings!

Anne

Anne Lowry
Anne Lowry
5700 Activity Points

Hello, Im a senior at college studying to become a Bilingual teacher. Because of the required field hours I have had the opportunity to work with elementary teachers that said it is very hard to get parents involved in their child's education. I believe it is very important to have parents involved in school so they know how their child is doing as well as their progress throughout the year. One way teachers can get parents involved is having "meet the teacher night" at the beginning of the year and talk about the expectations as well as projects the students are going to be doing. Teachers can meet with parents twice or more times each semester as necessary to show students work and talk about their progress. 

Ana Martinez
Ana Martinez
200 Activity Points

I am also a preservice teacher. This topic is one I have thought about during the times I have been present in the classroom. One of my mentor teachers keeps the parents of her students involved in the classroom by bringing one in each week to share a little about their lives. I love that idea because it gives students ideas on what future careers and aspirations they might have. Another way she keeps the parents involved is sending weekly newsletters and inviting them into her room whenever there are events going on.

For the teachers and parents that see this post, what are different ways you have encountered to keep parents involved? Are there things you have experienced and seen that you have not been a fan of regarding this topic?

Carter Tibbets
Carter Tibbets
170 Activity Points

As a pre-service teacher myself, I have also been learning about the importance of parent/family involvement. I think when parents think of involvement, they usually just think about coming into the classroom to volunteer, but it is honestly so much more than that. Family involvement is important because it helps to continue the students’ education even outside the classroom. Communication is key to family involvement and one way you could do this is by sending out a newsletter. In your newsletters, you can inform families what is happening in the classroom and you can provide them with resources to help continue the learning at home. Of course, it is also important to be inviting families into the classroom, but understand that it isn’t always feasible to come in. 

Lynn Katterhenry
Lynn Katterhenry
820 Activity Points

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