One of the most exciting things for children is an invitation for parents to visit their school. There are endless opportunities to celebrate the wonderful learning children are doing each day, but for them, there is no greater joy than extending this celebration with their parents. Fondest memories of my own schooling were shared with the people who cheered me on the most; my teachers, parents and friends. This is why we welcomed the parents of group 3 last week into the classroom.
By Shannon Pendergast, Teacher Group 3b at Optimist International School
Throughout the session children guided their parents through their own learning journey. They followed instructions to make origami boats with one another and then raced them across the water. Unsurprisingly, the children were winning! They then moved onto completing tasks from their home language books, where it was amazing to hear Spanish, Polish, Dutch, Telegu, Marathi, German, Kannada, Hindi, Russian and English. Next, children read their favourite story books to their parents and for children, stories are always opening a world of joy.
Throughout the morning, they articulated and facilitated the many questions the parents asked regarding their learning, which has such a positive impact on their confidence and further understanding. As the learning celebration came to an end, I recognised the connections the children were able to make with their home lives as they grasped a deeper meaning of what we’ve been learning. Watching the families engage and connect with their child’s learning is a gift for educators as we work as a team to advocate for the children.
Why is parent engagement so important?
“I am so excited” “did you know my dad is coming?” “When are our parents coming?” questions floated around. The morning before Group 3 invited their parents to school there was a rush of excitement around the classroom. Eagerly, the children re-checked their learning, tidied their space (the most I have seen this year) and were in jolly spirits in preparation for the parent’s arrival. The children were engaged and involved at the prospect of celebrating their developed knowledge, skills and understanding with parents.
For me, one of the most rewarding aspects of our role is flourishing those parent-teacher-child relationships as through these connections, we develop the positive relationships that support learning of the children. It is important for the children to see that we all value their education and sharing with us makes them feel special.
I smiled as I wandered around the classroom. As the children’s teacher, the most wonderful thing to witness during the celebration was the pride from the children as they shared great success. Celebrating the learning sparked great joy and joy facilitates life- long learning. A constant reminder that learning is fun!