Families and Schools in the Community: The Importance of Staying Connected
When working together, families, schools and communities can make a difference to improve student learning. In fact, evidence from numerous studies confirms what educators have long known: families can and do have a positive influence on how well their children do in school. Family involvement in their community appears to have an impact on student learning.
Research by Southwest Educational Development Laboratory found that strong family-school connections can produce significant benefits for children. These include:
- Higher grade point averages
- Better attendance
- Enrollment in more challenging courses
- Strong social skills
- Improved behavior at home and at school
When children are infants and toddlers, their brains are like sponges. This is the ideal time to instill the importance of getting involved in activities within your community: the younger your children, the better. Children can grow and flourish in a home with the interaction of a loving family that provides safety, active involvement, exploration, discovery, and self-learning.
Parents can also help their children learn important values by joining their children on their academic journey. School is more than the place children go to learn about math formulas and famous novels. It’s a place and time to build character, confidence and social skills. Children get this opportunity only once in their life, and it’s important for parents to help nurture it.
Finding time to get involved in your children’s school activities can be difficult. However, it is necessary to create strong ties with your children’s school. There are many different opportunities to get involved in your children’s school community. For example:
- Join the PTA/PTO. Don’t worry about attending all of the meetings or events. Simply being a member shows the school you care.
- Volunteer to assist at school events like plays, plant sales, and career days. If time is a problem, offer to do something like design and print fliers.
- Help out with the school newsletter. It’s a great way to know what’s going on.
- Volunteer to help out with class trips. If you can’t go, maybe offer to make a photo collage of the trip from submitted pictures.
Above all, remember to let your children enjoy the whole experience. Make sure they acknowledge your involvement with their school as a positive factor in their lives. Include your children in the decision-making process for the choices you consider.
If your children have been fostered with appropriate family-school experiences, they’ll likely fit into any community they choose. They’ll know how to contribute to the community, benefit from the interaction, and pass on those values to their own children.