«…no school can work well for children if parents and teachers do not act in partnership on behalf of the children’s best interests. Parents have every right to understand what is happening to their children at school, and teachers have the responsibility to share that information without prejudicial judgment…. Such communication, which can only be in a child’s interest, is not possible without mutual trust between parent and teacher.» - Dorothy H. Cohen
Relationships in all areas play a highly important role in the upbringing and development of a child. Just as teachers recognise the importance of forging strong connections with their pupils, parents are aware that their relationship and involvement in their child’s life, vastly impacts their child’s overall development - socially, emotionally and academically. In addition to the importance of these relationships, the relationship between teachers and parents should not be underestimated.
There is a wealth of research which clearly indicates that collaboration between schools and families positively impacts children. As found by Jeynes (2017), parental involvement is one of the main antecedents of both school behaviour and academic performance in 28 studies analysed by the researcher. This correlation existed in all age groups, ranging from pre-kindergarten children to university students.
Whilst approximately two-thirds of a child’s academic achievements will be determined through inherited genes (Kovas et. al, 2013), maximising the collaboration between schools and parents allows for significant room in further supporting each child. Having positive parent-teacher relationships is a win-win situation for both parties. Teachers benefit from additional input from an academic, social and behavioural point of view, as well as being able to draw upon knowledge of the whole child. Additionally, parents feel more involved in their child’s education and feel more confident in how to help their child academically.
In order to help the relationship develop, educators should strive to work on the following areas:
As mentioned, modern society, with the influence of social media and busy work-lives, mean that finding the time to support our children can be more challenging. However, even with the distractions of work emails, social media etc., it is vital to ensure that parents make the time to show an interest in their child’s school life. Looking at pictures that teachers send, asking your child about their day, helping with homework and reading together are key to showing children that parents value education and school.
Perhaps to help ensure that school and parent collaboration is two-way, some suggestions on how parents can support are included below:
As highlighted through a multitude of research studies, children who are supported by strong home-school collaboration, clearly increase their chances of reaching their full potential. Although teachers and parents may take different approaches, or hold different views, collaborating and sharing information will undoubtedly support your child in academic, social and emotional areas. We look forward to many exchanges with our parents.
Jeynes, W. (2017) A meta-analysis: The relationship between parental involvement and student outcomes, Education and Society.
Kovas, Y., Voronin, I., Kaydalov, A., Malykh, S. B., Dale, P. S., & Plomin, R. (2013): Literacy and Numeracy Are More Heritable Than Intelligence in Primary School. Psychological Science, 24(10), 2048–2056.