Type 1 Parent Involvement: Basic Responsibilities of Families
The most basic involvement of parents is their continuous responsibility for raising their children and providing them with food, clothing, shelter, health, and safety. The National Education Goals for Year 2000 indicate that "all children in America will start school ready to learn" (Children's Defense Fund, 2000, p. 63). What does "ready to learn" mean? It goes beyond teaching children across the nation their basic ABCs and numbers. It means parents should form the foundation for their children's success in school by providing and maintaining a positive home environment that is conducive to learning and the development of physical, intellectual, social, and emotional skills and values. This is a continuous process of teaching and guiding children throughout their school years and helping them build self-confidence and self-esteem (Gonzalez-Mena, 1998; National PTA, 2000).
Parents vary in their experiences and parenting skills. Thus, schools will have to take an active role in assisting parents with parenting and childrearing skills, helping in understanding child and adolescent development, and providing ideas for creating a home environment that supports children's learning at each age and grade. Research indicates that families want to learn and receive ongoing information on how to help their children succeed and excel in school. Concurrently, teachers and administrators need the families to assist schools in becoming better informed about their children and families. Information about children and family backgrounds, cultures, needs, interests, goals, and expectations can be provided by families. Therefore, Type 1 involvement consists of a combination of information for parents and from parents about children and families (Epstein, 2001).
Sample Activities That Support and Assist Parents in Parenting and Child-Rearing Practices
- Provide ongoing information to all parents in a variety of ways:
- workshop, parent education, and grade-level meetings
- newsletters and pamphlets
- videos and audiotapes
- school websites and email
- computerized phone messages
- Establish a parent resource room—a family-friendly center where parents can come together and discuss parenting issues and check out resources and materials.
- Organize a family support program—encourage parents to organize a parent-led support group where families can connect and share their experiences and their knowledge with each other.
- Provide home-visit opportunities for teachers to learn and to become more aware of the families, as well as for the families to understand school expectations.
- Provide information on community services, such as free immunizations and clinics, services offered by social services, community parent education, parent-child community activities, and religious services. (Epstein, 2001; National PTA, 2000)
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