As parents we all want the best for our children, we want them to feel save and well and do our best to nurture their physical, emotional, and social wellbeing. When they start school, cooperation between parents and the school begins, with a focus on the child´s wellbeing. Both partners play an important role. Parents are their child´s first and most important teachers and are responsible for raising them while the school’s main role is to support parents in educating their students in alignment with the situation of the family. It is also the school’s role to establish and maintain good cooperation between parents and the school.
Why is it so important?
Research has shown that when parents are involved in their child´s education and maintain good communication with the school and their children´s teachers, the child feels and does better at school. It is also likelier to have a positive attitude towards the school and learning. Research has also shown that where the cooperation is coincidental, it is not likely to have the same effect as to where the cooperation is well defined and planned. The school should emphasis on defining and informing parents about their role. When parental cooperation and involvement is well structured by the school, parents and teachers know their roles and have realistic expectations.
How can parents participate?
The aim is to enhance the child´s wellbeing and educational and learning skills and it will not be done without the cooperation between parents and the school. Good cooperation is grounded in mutual respect and understanding of what each party can bring to the table.
The most effective way is for the school to find various ways to share with all parents their students’ daily routine at school, what they are working on in the school and their development. One way to do this is through an online system that parents can log into and monitor their child´s projects, homework (and grades), another way is to send an email to the parent group each week and explain what the class will be working on in the coming days.
Parents that take on an active role in their child´s education maintain a good relationship with the school and their child´s teacher. They are also aware and show their interest in what they are doing at school and attend meetings and other events arranged by the teacher or the school. It is important for parents to have a realistic view of their child´s capacity and focus on their child´s unique strengths as well as providing extra support where needed.
UPRIGHT contribution to the parents-school cooperation
Parental participation is of great importance in the UPRIGHT programme. Parents are invited to a parent course in the beginning of the school year where they are introduced to the programme. They do activities related to the programmes´ four components (coping, efficacy, social and emotional learning and mindfulness), and get guidance on how to use the UPRIGHT platform where they can find activities to do themselves along with further information about the programme. It is also important for parents to have the opportunity to ask questions and meet other parents who are often wondering about the same issues regarding their children.
So far parents have been interested in the programme and we have received comments like “We have gained a common language” and “It is a programme that widens your perspective” from active parents. Their visits to the platform are increasing and we do our best in collaboration with our UPRIGHT teachers to maintain and enhance the good relationship we have with them.
As stated, it is a cooperation where the school and parents share the responsibility and it is beneficial for all partners, students, parents, and the school. It is always great to hear when the collaboration is working, and an atmosphere has been created where parents feel they are welcome, and their participation is appreciated. We look forward to furthering the good collaboration already in place within our schools with parents and students and that the UPRIGHT project will continue to support positive school connectedness and active parental involvement.
Directorate of Health, Iceland