George Lucas Educational Foundation

Parent Involvement...

Parent Involvement...

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There seems to be a lack in parent involvement in the classroom, it seems to get worse year after year. I provide daily opportunities for parents to volunteer, as well as monthly parent involvement activities for parents to attend & I get no interest from parents or even a response. For example, this months family involvement activity was "pizza & puzzles," the parents were invited to put together puzzles with their child & enjoy a light pizza snack. However, out of 40 enrolled students only 1 parent actually participated. Is this happening every where (the lack of parent involvement)? Does anyone have any suggestions on ways to promote more parent involvement in the classroom?

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Tamala's picture

So many of the comments that I have received those far are simply wonderful. It is a problem that we all, as educators, are facing, but the ideas that we are sharing are great. Thank You

Tamala's picture

I love this idea and I am so glad that you do this with your students. This gives the parents a window into their world and their classroom. This idea is very beneficial to those parents who have to work and just cannot come in and be an active participate in their child's schooling.

Lindsay's picture
First grade teacher

At the beginning of the year my school sends out a letter to every parent in the school giving them the opportunity to volunteer in the school. I had a parent come in once a week last year and read with my students. The students loved that one on one time that I was unfortunately not able to always give them.

Mrs. Murillo's picture
Mrs. Murillo
Preschool teacher from Irvington

Unfortunately, there is a lack of parent involvement everywhere. My school does monthly parent involvement activities where parents come to the class to work on a project or to do an activity with their children. This gives parents an opportunity to attend to at least one throughout the year. Even so, I have not had a parent this year joining us. Many of my parents cannot take a day off from work. Therefore, I give out projects for students and parents to do at home, such as planning a beam and recording its growth. In addition, I give out stickers, and make a big deal about it when students bring it to the class to encourage those who did not. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. However, this is something that we cannot control. We can only keep trying and continue searching for new practices that can develop parents' involvement.

Holly Willis's picture
Holly Willis
Former Social Media Marketing Assistant at Edutopia

Hi Tamala -

I think this is common challenge that teachers face, I decided to pose the question to our Twitter followers and get their input. Here are some of their responses:

Chris C: Invite parents to "stay on and play, read, write, do maths, construct" for fifteen minutes one morning.

Michele: Ask them to help cover books, make display material, listen to reading, look after lost property. Makes them feel valued.

Heruy: Survey parents to get a sense of their expertise/talent & tap into that, so they feel comfortable/confident contributing to class.

Chris: Consider upskilling parents in specifics, eg reading, so they can better support at home and in school.

I hope these ideas are helpful. Good luck!

melanie bynoe's picture

I am of the belief that many parents are apprehensive in coming to the school to take part in activities because of lack of education and fear of being perceived as uneducated and dumb by teachers.

Melissa's picture

I love this topic and I feel that the parental involvement is less and less each year. I currently teach in a title 1 school and we are trying so many avenues to get the parents involved with the school functions. We have planned SOL review night for the parents to see what information parents will need to help their child, family movie night, breakfast with Santa, Harvest party night, and many, many more events for the parent and students to participate in. What I have noticed is that the parents are afraid to attend the school functions and well as they are too busy to come. I try my very best to reach out to all my parents each year and encourage them to attend a few of the school sponsored events. We can't give up on parents we must keep trying.

Heidi's picture
Specialized Preschool Teacher from Pennsylvania

Families are so different for this generation of students than any before. Students come from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, demographic regions, and I understand how difficult it is to accommodate every family who has a child in school. Some students are raised by one parent, two parents, have blended families, live with foster parents, live with older relatives, or could even be homeless. It is important for schools to offer several activities during different times of the day and evening, to invite as many families as possible. It is also important for the activities to be culturally diverse. I honestly feel parent involvement begins with the rapport created between a parent and teacher, and then extends outward. A parent may have a not-so-good relationship with a teacher one year and consume a negative attitude toward all teachers. It is the responsibility of the child's teacher each year and all year long, to make the student and families feel welcome. When this happens, the family is more likely to participate in extra activities if the time is right.

cabe412's picture
K-6 Special Education Teacher

Parent involvement is something I strive for every school year but never seems to pan out the way I picture it. Obviously you have situations where parents simply cannot take off work on a consistent basis to volunteer in the school setting. However, even the parents that could come in don't. I've sent home letters, called to notify them of opportunities there are to volunteer, etc. But I do believe there is always something else we can do to help this cause. I'm still in search of this remedy, and I realize it looks different depending on the specific situation you are in (socio-economic status of school district, culturally diverse community, etc). One idea I've tried in my classroom involves a project students work on for several weeks both in class and at home. I look at the progress they've made each day and keep in contact with parents. This doesn't necessarily achieve my goal of having parents enter the classroom but does keep them involved in their child's learning. The project involved taking stats on the NCAA tournament (even if they don't watch the games, they could look up W-L and other stats online). I printed results for those families that didn't have internet access. The kids seemed to really enjoy completing this assignment, especially when they were working with their parents to complete it. There was an excitement in the learning process which was awesome to see. Thank you for your suggestions, they were helpful and gave me food for thought.

denizyaman's picture

The influence of parent involvement is something which shouldn't be underestimated for student's academic success. In order to get parental involvement, I believe visiting our students' houses is the best way to learn and understand about our students and their backgrounds.Visiting our students houses is a way to bridge the gap between school and home for students, families, and teachers. Home visit is a great way to deepen the partnership between teacher and parent and increase the students' chances for success.

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