Education is one of the most important parts of a child’s life - but that doesn’t only mean what goes on inside of school. Children are always learning, in numerous different ways, and often without us even realising it. Whilst much of a child’s formal education goes on in school, there are ways that we as parents can play an active role in their education:
Participating in a child’s school life
As children grow older it can feel like there what goes on in school becomes a big secret! Children are often too tired or preoccupied to chat about their school day in any great detail, and the most we hear is the occasional email home or a brief update at parents’ evening. We can still make sure we are involved in our children’s school lives though by doing things like taking an active interest in homework topics and class discussions. Although doing homework for our children is a bad idea, we can sit with them and ask questions, help them research topics and tell them what we know where appropriate. Simply keeping track of what our children are learning this term in key subjects can make it easier to keep a grasp on what is going on, and to relate home activities and days out to those topics.
Volunteering in school
Primary and infant schools are usually quite happy to have an extra pair of hands to help around the classrooms, and this can give us parents a real insight into the school day and culture, as well as what lessons are being taught. As children grow older there is less requirement for volunteers in the classroom but there may still be an opportunity to help on school trips etc. Many schools have a parent teacher association or parents’ committee which can be a great way to be involved with the school, or you could even apply to become a governor. If you have any spare time to volunteer, there is bound to be a way you can help out at school.
Talking to teachers
Most teachers are terribly busy, so it’s not a good idea to hound them for information too often. It’s important to respect boundaries when contacting a teacher so that they don’t feel under siege! That said, establishing an open line of communication is a good way to make sure you’re kept informed of any developments. Even something simple such as coming back into the classroom after school has finished to have a five-minute chat can be helpful in keeping abreast of what children are learning and how you can support this at home.