High parent engagement can be nothing but positive, and Henderson and Berla (1994) reviewed and analyzed eighty-five studies that documented the comprehensive benefits of parent involvement in children’s education. Here is a summary the benefits they noted for the children, parents, teachers, and the school.
How Parental Involvement Helps Our Kids
There are many benefits to our kids when parents are involved. What are the gains? Well, for the kids we usually see greater achievement in the core subjects, regardless of ethnic or racial background, socioeconomic status, or parents’ education level. The kids also tend to achieve better grades, have higher test scores, and better school attendance.
How about the daily routine? Well, that’s a plus too. Children are more consistent with completing their homework. If they’ve practiced, they do better on retaining concepts and perform better on assessments. Parent supervision makes a difference even if it’s just reminders on doing it.
Children also have emotional gains. They have better self-esteem, are more self-disciplined, and show higher aspirations and motivation toward school which is awesome!
Finally, kids demonstrate a more positive attitude about school which often results in improved behavior in school. Cutting down on behavior management means increased time on task and that everyone wins.
The Benefits for Parent Support
The children are not the only winners with parental involvement. Parents also gain much from knowing what’s happening at school. First, with an increase in parent-teacher interactions and in discussion of student progress, parents are more responsive and sensitive to their children’s social, emotional, and intellectual developmental needs.
Parent-teacher conferences help parents have a better understanding of the teacher’s job and school curriculum too. This means that the teacher really must have communication skills that help parents. Newsletters, notes home, email communications, and phone calls make a huge difference.
When parents are aware of what their kids are learning, they are more likely to help when the teacher invites them and more likely to become more involved in their children’s learning activities at home. Teachers need to keep this in mind. We need to think about how ALL parents can contribute and VALUE each way they help us. If you have working parents, be sensitive to the limited time they have. Consider the best uses of that time.
Finally, parents’ perceptions of the school are improved when they’re involved, and there are stronger ties and commitment to the school. When parents feel they are welcome, appreciated, are valuable to the program, and are helping their child, they are much more motivated to come in.
How Parent Support Benefits Teachers
Guess what? Teachers win too. When schools have a high percentage of involved parents in and out of schools, teachers and principals are more likely to experience higher morale, and teachers and principals often earn greater respect for their profession from the parents.
Remember that your community is listening, and consistent parent involvement leads to improved communication and relations between parents, teachers, and administrators. The news gets out, and that’s a great thing when your activities are rewarding for your families.
Finally, one of the biggest benefits for parental involvement is that teachers and principals acquire a better understanding of families’ cultures and diversity, and they form deeper respect for parents’ abilities and time. ALL families are important, and it’s more important than ever that our ELL and low SES families feel valued, wanted in the school setting, and that their children are valuable. They will help us if they KNOW we love their kids. If we all work together, we love our jobs, volunteer work, and more.
The poster to the right is a free resource I made to share. If you’d like to download it and the parent involvement brochure below, simply subscribe to my email list. Not only will you get this download, you’ll have access to my VIP Library linked at the top of this post.
How Parent Involvement Benefits the School
Each key player in the parental involvement partnership benefits, but guess what? The school benefits too. Schools that actively involve parents and the community tend to establish better reputations in the community. We know how important PR is, right?
Schools also experience better community support. Our community is listening, and we want positive points being shared. School programs that encourage and involve parents usually do better and have higher quality programs than programs that do not involve parents.
So what can we do to get parents on our side? The first step is taken on registration day when you meet your students and parents for the first time. A welcoming spirit sets the tone for the year. If you are able, welcome your families in your classroom keeping in mind that you may have siblings tagging along. If you can set out coloring pages, legos, or playdough, your parents will feel much more relaxed and attentive.
Once the year’s started, work to make connections with your families. You might give them the opportunity to brag about their child. Have the parent fill in a survey about their child, and maybe send home a completed survey about yourself. It’s fun to see what you have in common.
Do you have favorite ways to get your parents involved? Below I’ve linked up blog posts with ideas you might try at your school and a few other parental involvement posts from my blog. If you have a special event you’d like to have highlighted below, simply send me a message through my blogger contact form with the link to your post and I’ll add it to the list.