Parental Engagement with Schools - Avenues for outreach

Parents are the most important stakeholders in a school, next to the students. Their interest in the growth profile of their wards, their well-being and safety during school hours are certainly the prime concerns of any school. With increasing social tensions and consequent expectations from schools and their wards, the stress experienced by the parents need to be attended through a meaningful, educative and facilitative process. Parental education and engagement with schools, therefore, is becoming an emerging necessity.
 
The following appear to be some important areas which a school needs to address:
 
1. Parental counselling at the time of admitting their wards, briefing the school vision, commitments, profile, rules in force and expectations.
 
2 Counselling the parents at the primary level on the emerging learning challenges, learning curve – both social and personal, learning stress, competition management, psycho-social growth patterns, technology in use, misuse and abuse.
 
3. Parents of the students in the age group of eight to fifteen – managing curiosity, innovation, enterprise, attention deficit, peer pressure, pre-adolescent and adolescent issues; and their management, aggression management, gender sensitivity among the children, learning challenges, individuality management, developing self-concepts and self-esteem.
 
4. Parents of the age group of twelve to fifteen – Management of emotional health, management of failure and depression, conflict resolution, competition management, bullying issues, time management, peer pressure management and the like.
That apart, parents at the primary level also need to be exposed to the health care of their wards including identification of minor health problems like eye defects, learning deficiencies, symptoms of autism, hearing deficiencies, attitudinal problems, etc.
 
Developing an excellent interpersonal relationship with parents and among parents, and empowering them to be positive contributors to the school development is an emerging issue.
 
Understanding and cooperation extended by the parents for effective traffic management and safety management of the students, both inside and outside the school is important to generate goodwill and success for the initiatives of the school.
 
Schools need to organise focussed and tailor-made programs in these areas so that most conflicts that arise could be solved with ease, comfort and purpose. 
 
This article was originally published in TheTeacher.in magazine in the month of November, 2018.

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