Some of the excited parents who mingled with their children at the Parents Bring Your Family to School Day hosted by the Christ Church Girls’ School.??

The educational success of children depends to some extent, on the involvement of their parents.

This was the clear message sent to those who attended the Bring Your Family to School Day hosted by the Christ Church Girls’ School today at Water Street, Christ Church.

Principal, Heather Bryan, in addressing the gathering, explained that if a child saw his/her parents enthusiastic about education, he/she was far more likely to view the school in a positive light and be more receptive to learning.

She said: "Parents should be seen as vital partners in a child’s education. Not only can they help to ensure homework is done on time, but also give a child vital coaching and advice out of school hours.

"They determine the child’s home environment, therefore, engaging and working with parents is one of the most vital parts of providing children with an excellent education."

Mrs. Bryan stressed that both teachers and parents shared joint partnerships in shaping and moulding the lives of children and "like a marriage these two must be in constant communication and be of the same mind if the venture is to be successful".

Stating that ???trust’ was a main ingredient in the relationship between school and home, she pointed out that her school was continuing to work on this area. "It is something which I would really want to see corrected… It is my hope that out of this initiative that trust can be built and, hence, we can see a symbiotic relationship built up between the parents and teachers," she maintained.??

Education Officer, Monica Walton, in supporting the Principal’s views, noted that family involvement greatly enhanced the development of children’s cognitive and social skills. She said: "Parental involvement begins at home. By creating a positive home environment and encouraging communication, you are stimulating the learning process."??

Applauding the partnership, Mrs. Walton suggested ways in which parents could offer support given that they were their children’s "biggest influence and should use that influence to put them on the pathway to success". She stressed: "Expect success, set high expectations for your child’s school performance and your child will be more likely to meet those expectations.?? Help your child to set reasonable goals and work towards them. Tell your child that you believe in his/her abilities and that is what you expect.

"Encourage reading and writing – keep reading materials in your home and monitor what your child reads. Read to your child and encourage him/her to keep a journal. Make school a priority, be supportive of the school and education; speak positively about your child’s teachers and get to know them by name. Talk to your child about the benefits of education and ensure that your child attends school on time and everyday. Attend school functions, return phone calls and answer notes from class teachers."

Meanwhile, President of the National Council for Parent Teachers Associations, Rhonda Blackman, lauded the project for its ability to foster a closer link between home and school; build stronger family-school partnerships; and help parents better understand their role in the education process. "When the school opens its doors to all families and parents put aside their other commitments to be at school, their children get to feel that their education is valued and that you care," said Ms. Blackman.

The Bring Your Family to School initiative was the brainchild of the Early Childhood Subject Coordinator, Katie Riley, who conceived it as part of a requirement for completion of the Certificate in Education programme at the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College.


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