What is Parent Engagement?
Parent engagement involves all people in the life of a child or young person working together to create a stimulating and supportive environment for their learning and development.
For parents and families this means taking opportunities in the everyday interactions they have with their children to promote and support learning, and to connect learning at school, in the home and in the community. For schools it includes looking at ways to work in partnership with families, helping to build their capacity for effective parent engagement.
Why does it matter?
A large body of research supports the value of parent engagement from birth and throughout the school years. Parent engagement affects what children achieve, how they experience school, and assists in the transition to school and into post-secondary education.
Parent engagement has also been shown to reduce the impact of socio-economic disadvantage on educational outcomes. This means that families have an important role to play in helping their children to become confident and motivated learners, regardless of their occupation, education, or income.
How is ARACY involved?
Parent Engagement Project
ARACY is currently undertaking the Parent Engagement Project on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. The project aims to develop and promote a shared understanding of what parent engagement is and why it matters, to encourage a consistent and ongoing approach to the measurement of its impact, and to build and share evidence about ‘what works’.
Progressing Parental Engagement in the ACT
ARACY has collaborated with the ACT Government on its Progressing Parental Engagement in the ACT project, which sought to enhance the partnerships between families and schools and equip them to better focus on children’s learning and wellbeing. Outcomes from this project include a series of fact sheets for parents and schools to guide parent engagement activity and evidence-based reviews to establish a shared understanding of what parent engagement is and how it can be measured.
How can you become involved?
Join the Australian Parent Engagement Network, a virtual space for people passionate about engaging families in their children’s learning and education. The Network supports online collaboration and conversation about parent engagement, providing access to research, resources, practice tips and the opportunity to contribute to the national Parent Engagement Project.
Attending the annual Parent Engagement Conference (next in Melbourne, June 6-8 2017) advances discussion about the importance of parent engagement in maximising every child’s potential, bringing research, policy and practice together.
Further reading and resources
- Australian Government Department of Education and Training – Parent Engagement in Children’s Learning
- Learning Potential
- ACT Education Directorate – Progressing Parental Engagement
- Raising Children – Ideas for Learning and Play for Primary School Aged Children
- Schoolatoz – Practical Help for Parents
- ARACY Report for the Family-School and Community Partnerships Bureau – Parental Engagement in Learning and Schooling: Lessons from Research
- Family-School & Community Partnerships Bureau – Strengthening Family and Community Engagement in Student Learning Resource
- Harvard Family Research Project – Family Involvement