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This month’s #Blogsync asks for opinions on the role of the family in education. Here are my thoughts.

Parents and Carers are the primary care givers for very young children. They are the ones who know their children best. They have the most impact in a child’s life right from the beginning. In an ideal world parents should equip their offspring with confidence and self esteem and a sense of well being and security. They should allow their very young children to learn through trial and error and be there to pick up the pieces when and if it all goes wrong. From the earliest age parents should teach their children right from wrong. They should teach children to share, to play with others, to communicate effectively and generally to be polite to other human beings. It is a parent’s role to instil decent family values and loyalty to family and friends. As a baby grows in to a toddler parents should help them to master early play skills and help them to explore the world around them. They should teach them nursery rhymes, talk to them, share books with them, teach them colours and basic counting and teach them to socialise with others. At this stage parents should also teach children non discriminatory behaviour. Teach them that all humans are to be equally valued irrespective of colour, religion, disability, gender, sexuality and any other horrid discrimination you can think of. Once this is achieved a child is reasonably ready for school and we as teachers will share the burden for education.

Note the use of the word ‘share’. I believe that’s what it should be, a shared partnership. You can imagine my dismay when I turn on the TV and I hear yet another expert saying ‘they should teach that in schools’. There seems to be no end to the things people want us to teach in schools at the moment. This includes manners, respect, use of knife and fork rather than just a fork, road safety and sometimes even toileting in reception class. Recently I heard that it should be our job to teach children to queue properly. Well actually we have that one covered on day one! If we taught all these things in school we would have no time for the academic subjects we are actually supposed to teach. The family would have no responsibility for teaching the child anything at all. Personally I don’t think this is the way it should be. Preparing a child to take its place in the world should be a partnership. Parents should engage with schools at every opportunity. This includes reading with their child, answering letters, attending parent meetings and supporting any disciplinary measures that may occur. Help with homework and ferry them to and from after school clubs. Parents should demonstrate to their children how much they value the school. I hope they would be supportive with homework and listen to a child’s worries and successes.

I know my view of the school and parent partnership is rather rose tinted but in an ideal world this is how it would be. This is how it was in my family as I was growing up. I remain optimistic that most families engage in this way. That said, I haven’t dared research the statistics about parental engagement with schools in case my rose tinted lenses must up.

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