In today’s busy world, there are many factors affecting children’s home lives: parents juggling multiple jobs, both parents working full-time, and even one parent working hard to run the household alone; therefore, it is not uncommon for extended family members to help care for the children in the family. As education and family dynamics evolve, schools and educators are recognizing the importance of getting the extended family, in addition to the parents, involved in contributing to a child’s education.
With family involvement, a child has a better chance of overcoming learning obstacles and thriving in school. A report from the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory found that regardless of family income or background, students with involved parents are more likely to:
- Earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs
- Be promoted, pass their classes, and earn credits
- Attend school regularly
- Have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school
- Graduate and go on to postsecondary education
In California, many early childhood education programs are focusing on ways to get families involved with the educational growth of their young dual language learners (DLLs), those who are learning two languages at one time. Immigrant families there often include grandparents and other extended family members who care for the children. An article from Sarah Tully at EdSource states, “strengthening dual language learner family engagement in preschool may be especially important, since the early years of development set the foundation for future learning, and since families who are engaged early on with schools are more likely to maintain engagement across future educational settings.” She notes that advocates are even replacing “parental involvement” with the term “family engagement” as they work to get families more involved. Tully explains that “the goal is to integrate family members into the school culture, including looking at how they are welcomed at the front office, workshops that they can participate in, what they can do at home to contribute to their children’s educational growth – to engage them in “shared leadership” with their child’s education.”
Parents, family members, teachers, the school, and the community all play a key role in a child’s education. If all of those pieces are communicating and working together, the possibilities for the child’s future are endless!
Parent Night, Nellie Reed Elementary
Corunna Public Schools, Vernon, MI
How GrapeSEED Encourages Family Engagement
GrapeSEED is much more than an early childhood education program. It is a complete solution for meeting community expectations for quality English education. The developers of GrapeSEED recognize the importance of family engagement for a high-quality education that promotes student development in literacy and language fluency. For this reason, they created Repeated Exposure and Practice (REP) materials to be used in class, as well as at home for practicing and sharing with their families. It gives parents and caregivers a chance to see what their child is learning and to take an active role in the learning process.
In order to introduce the new program and its benefits to your community, the GrapeSEED Support team can help you craft an informational campaign. Working with the principal and teachers in your school, a GrapeSEED trainer will help organize this event that gives parents, family members, and other members of the community a great opportunity to learn about GrapeSEED and ask questions.
To learn how GrapeSEED is helping young learners in preschool through 2nd grade, including DLLs, English Language Learners (ELLs), and struggling readers, grow in literacy, contact us!
GrapeSEED Parent Night, Timothy’s Angels Child Development Center