Why Parent Engagement Is Important & What Strategies to Use
One of the most important aspects of a child’s success through their schooling years is the level of engagement that their parents have in their education. In fact, despite income or background, a student that has parents engaged in their education is more likely to succeed higher in multiple areas, when compared to peers with uninvolved parents (1).
Considering this, schools, youth rec centers, and other organizations must show parents the importance of engagement in their student’s education and take the necessary steps to get them involved. Engagement can be facilitated through multiple methods such as encouraging parents to come to meetings, offering volunteer opportunities, and engaging them off-campus with our app Curacubby.
In this article, we will delve deeper into what parent engagement is and why it is important, detailing how it leads to student success and showing several methods in which parent involvement can be encouraged and fostered.
What is Parent Engagement, and Why is it Important?
According to the CDC, parent engagement “is defined as parents and school staff working together to support and improve the learning, development, and health of children and adolescents (2).” They go further to explain that requires “schools and other community agencies… to engage parents in meaningful ways, and parents that are committed to actively supporting their children (2).”
Now, before we get into the importance of this, it is necessary to recognize the difference between engagement and involvement. Involvement is doing to: that is, the school tells parents how they can contribute.
Engagement involves doing with: that is, listening to parents and incorporating their ideas with the school’s own (3). Essentially, it is a bond that is created between parents and educators, allowing them to be in communication with each other. That way, they can bridge the gap between home and school life, allowing students to be truly immersed in their learning.
The reason why parent engagement is so important in schools is that studies have shown it helps children and teens alike succeed mentally, socially, and physically. Opening these forums, where parents can be active in their child’s education, allows for learning to go beyond the classroom into their homes and communities.
The main goal of facilitators of education is to see students succeed in multiple aspects of their lives. So, it is important to incorporate these family engagement activities in your school, giving students a higher chance of success in the classroom and beyond.
Student Success Seen from Parent Engagement
Let’s dive deeper and discuss the positive results that have been seen from parental engagement. First, let’s look at how it aids students academically.
According to the CDC, parent engagement has been shown to result in overall greater academic success, as students have been shown to get higher grades on homework assignments and tests (4). Higher grades can lead to better confidence academically and foster a love for learning, especially in younger students. These great grades also increase the number of students that stay in school and enroll in postsecondary education.
These results will not only help the students, but they will also reflect well on the school, encouraging more parents to enroll their children at the institution.
In addition to academic success, it is shown that students with engaged parents show overall better behavior, having fewer disciplinary infractions. These students also have better social skills. Thus, they are better able to engage with their peers and get a positive experience out of the social aspect of school (4).
A big part of parental engagement is that it can have a positive effect on the health choices students make. For example, connected students are less likely to (4):
- Smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol
- Become pregnant
- Be physically inactive
- Be emotionally distressed
This carries on into adulthood, with another study showing that adults who were connected to family and schools as youth were 48%-66% less likely to experience things like substance abuse and mental health issues (5).
Thus, it is important to encourage and implement parent engagement methods in every school. It sets up the student for success academically, socially, and physically, both in school and into adulthood.
How to Increase Parent Engagement in Schools
Now that we have discussed the importance of parental engagement for students, you are probably wondering how you can initiate this engagement. Below, we will discuss methods that you can use to engage parents and foster a great learning environment for your students.
Even if you have incorporated this into your school, this section is still for you. We will be discussing Curacubby, our tool that can be used to increase parent incorporation into their student’s education.
Create a Way for Parents to become Engaged
First and foremost, it is important to make sure that there is a way for parents to be engaged. One way this can be done is by making sure all contact info is up to date, and to let parents know that these communication channels are not one-way. That is, encourage them to communicate with teachers and staff.
Also, make sure that you foster an environment of openness. Ensure that they feel welcome at the school, and safe reaching out to their child or children’s educator(s). This can be done by way of reaching out to them before the school year starts, following up letters with personal contact, and hiring front office staff that is welcoming (6).
Also, make sure that you don’t just info dump the parents at the beginning and end of the year. Shorter, more frequent communication will usually resonate better with parents (7). Provide actionable information too (7). Don’t just tell parents what is happening. Give them strategies to help their child to succeed this school year.
Involve Parents in Family Engagement Activities
Another way to engage parents is to offer family engagement activities that get everyone involved. One example of this is having volunteer activities. Maybe host a bake sale and have volunteering positions available. For the younger ones, you can have a family reading night (6). Also, encourage parents to come to school concerts, plays, and sporting events.
Parent engagement should go beyond just learning. When students see that their caregiver is interested in many aspects of their school life, it will help to create an encouraging learning environment.
Be Flexible with Parent’s Schedules
One challenge that you may face is parents with busy schedules, which makes it hard for them to be as engaged as others. For these parents, make sure to accommodate them as best you can. A few methods you can use include (6):
- Offering childcare during parent meetings.
- Offering at-home parent-teacher conferences.
- Providing tutoring for students.
One of the best things you can do to connect with parents though, no matter how busy or free their schedule, is using modern technology to reach them.
Use Curacubby to Foster Parent Engagement
One of the best investments you can make for your school, in terms of parent engagement, is implementing Curacubby. Specifically, our Moments app simplifies communication between administrators, staff, and parents, allowing even the busiest caregivers to be engaged in their student’s school life.
Earlier, we mentioned that it is important to make sure that communication channels like phone numbers and email addresses are kept up to date. But the issue with those is that they are unmonitored, and messages can be read too late. You will not experience that with our app! With Curacubby, everyone can stay connected in real-time! You will be able to:
- Send reminders about school activities.
- Share private pictures of a student with just their parents.
- Consolidate contacts, data, and media into a single source of truth.
- Send notifications of schedule changes.
The app will not only foster parent engagement, but it will also give parents of younger students peace of mind when their child is just starting school. These real-time pictures and videos of their students and the ability to message the teacher throughout the day can help alleviate last-minute questions or concerns they may have. In the end, confidence will be built between parent and teacher.
This is a great tool for staff communication also, as one can:
- Alert staff of safety concerns.
- Send incident reports. That way policies are followed, everyone stays safe, and you can minimize the risk of lawsuits.
Curacubby is a great solution for parent involvement, and it will be a great investment to make for your school or youth rec center.
Parent engagement can be paramount in fostering success throughout school and beyond. When a child can see that their parent is engaged and interested in their school, it helps to foster not only academic success, but social and health success also.
Because it is so important, schools and other youth organizations should do all that they can to get parents engaged. To make this engagement simple, don’t forget to use our Moments app. The simplified communication will make it easy for parents, students, and staff to stay connected with each other. Hopefully, the engagement it fosters will help your students be successful in many areas of life!