Today I read a fantastic blog post by Greg Whitby over at Blueyonder. Greg Whitby is the Executive Director of Schools in the Diocese of Parramatta. As a teacher in the Catholic Education System in Melbourne, I admire the way that Greg regularly share’s his thoughts and insights into Australian Education via this fantastic blog. It helps to keep teachers and leaders in the mix of relevant and current educational research and thinking. He challenges current practice and thought and always engages my thinking in a rich way.
Greg’s latest post discusses the importance of engaging parents as partners in the learning process at school. The idea that parents should be a real part of a school’s learning community has gathered momentum in recent years. Seeing parents as something more than home support can drastically alter the experience of any child. Parents have so much to give to a school, and in particular, the use of parents as experts in the classroom has been something that my school has embraced this year. Each time a class ventures into a new big idea or inquiry focus, we invite parents across our school to offer their services and expertise to help children explore and answer questions. Whether this be in the areas of science, health, mathematics, gardening or sewing, our parents have essentially become the expert teacher and have been such a valuable asset to our childrens’ learning.
A snapshot of parents as experts includes:
- ore science in the workplace
- a teacher who worked with child refugees explore the importance of volunteering
- a policeman explored transport and road safety with our juniors
- a mechanic and motor cycle enthusiast exploring keeping safe on our roads
- several parents who shared their stories of immigration
- A food scientist who helped students explore their questions about food
- A fitness instructor who ran an aerobics class
These parents have given their time to help our students understand their learning from a new perspective. We were so grateful to have them work with our students and teachers. In turn this not only helps our children, but helps to build a sense of community and self worth. The value of this cannot be measured! The notion of learning both with and from parents is a powerful thought that could radically transform the ways in which schools educate their children. The concept of ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ springs to mind.
Including parents as partners in the learning journey should indeed be part of every school’s vision for learning.
You can also follow Greg Whitby’s posts via twitter here.
*Image is courtesy of Bluyonder and is linked to the blog.