Kia ora koutou
I have been doing some reading recently which has reminded me of the importance of the relationship between parents and the school. The research is clear - family involvement in children’s schooling positively impacts student progress and achievement. However, it is not just any involvement that has a positive impact on student achievement. Family involvement that is linked to student learning has a greater effect than more general forms of involvement. Even more specifically, family involvement that supports student learning at home is linked to improved student achievement.
At Amesbury School, we believe that home learning is important, but it should be meaningful, directed towards meeting students’ needs and it must not just be busy work – e.g. it shouldn’t be photocopied sheets with a range of activities that don’t link with what the students are learning at the time. There are many ways that parents can support their children’s learning at home. For example, in Harakeke Hub, students’ weekly tasks are on the To Do, and parents can see what tasks their children need to achieve during the week. You can also ask your child to show you their Google Classroom. There you will be able to see the specific tasks that your child has been allocated for the week and what has already been “handed in”. Children of most ages always have a piece of writing that is in progress (research, plan, write, edit, proofread and publish). A little bit of time spent on the relevant step of the writing process would be very helpful, including modelling editing or proofreading for your child. Many children have IXL tasks to do. This is perfect for home learning. Sitting down with your child at the beginning of the week, looking at the tasks and discussing which ones could be done at home as part of the home learning programme would be extremely helpful. It sends the message that both school and home agree – learning is important and completing tasks is an important aspect of learning and that this can be done at school and at home.
We know that all parents are keen to support their child’s learning. If you do not feel that you know enough about how to support your child’s learning, please feel free to ask your child’s teacher for information. Over the year, we will hold information sessions to help you with this. However, please be proactive and approach your child’s teacher at any time.
Some parents approach us with concerns saying, “We don’t want to be THAT parent. But….” None of us particularly likes negative feedback, however, I want to affirm sincerely that it is your job as parents to advocate for the learning of your children. Of course, feedback and advocacy always needs to be respectful, polite, kindly given (assume that teachers would not do “it” on purpose) and reasonable – parents need to consider that teachers have quite a number of other students to think about also. However, it is absolutely your right to ask questions about your child’s learning and we are accountable for the quality of education your child receives.
That said, I do want to say that it is parents/caregivers' responsibility to always speak positively about the school and the teachers in front of their children. Trust is a central component of successful learning. If trust is eroded by parents’ talk, then it impacts the ability of students to learn. Negative talk at home will soon become very obviously reflected in the behaviour and learning of their children. There is absolutely no doubt about it - students’ ability to engage in learning will be impacted.
Working in a healthy partnership is definitely best for student learning. Here is the link to our Community Partnership Agreement. This is to be reviewed on a regular basis. Please feel free to provide any comments you might have to improve the agreement. Thank you.
Looking forward to a year of working together with you!
Arohanui ki a koutou