PARENTS ARE FIRST TEACHERS
TEACHERS ARE FIRST PARENTS
• Research demonstrates that parent/ family
involvement significantly contributes to
improved student outcomes.
• Everyone -- students, parents, teachers,
administrators, and communities --
benefits from family involvement.
What are the Benefits?
• More positive attitudes toward school;
• Higher achievement, better attendance,
and more homework completed
• Higher graduation rates and enrollment
rates in post-secondary education;
• Better schools to attend.
Benefits for Parents
• Greater knowledge of education programs
and how schools work;
• Knowledge of how to be more supportive
• Greater confidence about ways to help
• More positive view of teachers; and,
• Greater empowerment.
Benefits for School Staff
• Greater teaching effectiveness;
• Higher expectations of students;
• Increased ability to understand family
views and cultures;
• Greater appreciation of parent volunteers;
• Improved morale.
Benefits for Communities:
• Greater strength;
• Greater impact of services through
comprehensive, integrated approach;
• Increased access to services for families.
Research on Involvement
• Effective parent/family involvement
improves student outcomes throughout the
• While parent/family involvement improves
student outcomes, variations in culture,
ethnicity, and/ or socioeconomic
background affect how families are
• Parent/family involvement at home has
more impact on children than
parent/family involvement in school
• The nature of effective parent/family
involvement changes as children reach
• Parent/family involvement in early
childhood programs help children succeed
in their transition to kindergarten and
• Parent/families may need guidance and
assistance in how to effectively help their
children with homework.
• Parent/family involvement will differ for
ethnic and cultural groups. These
differences should be considered when
planning parent/ family involvement
• Improved student outcomes have been
documented in math and reading when
families are involved.
• The most promising opportunity for
student achievement occurs when
families, schools, and community
organizations work together.
• To be effective, school programs must be
individualized to fit the needs of the
students, parents, and community.
• Effective programs assist parents in
creating a home environment that fosters
learning and provides support and
encouragement for their children’s
• Teachers must be trained to promote
effective parent/family involvement.
on Parent Involvement
• Parents should come to school only when
• Stay-at-home mothers serve as
• Parents visit school mainly for children’s
performances and open houses;
• Parents help raise money for school.
• Schools that have been the most successful
in involving families look beyond
traditional definitions to a broader view
that considers parents/families as full
partners in the education of their children.
• These schools view children’s learning as
a shared responsibility among everyone
involved in the child’s education.
What is a Family?
A Personal Definition
• For the purpose of today’s conversation,
“Parent” or “Family” refers to anyone
actively involved in raising and educating
Factors in Involvement
• Parents are a child’s first teachers.
• The American family has changed
dramatically over the last 50 years.
• Schools aren’t always knowledgeable in
how to encourage involvement.
• Parents don’t always recognize the
importance of becoming involved or know
where to begin.
Ten Truths of
• All parents have hopes and goals for their
children. They differ in how they support
their children’s efforts to achieve those
• The home is one of several areas that
simultaneously influence a child. The
school must work with people in the other
areas for the child’s benefit.
• The parent is the central contributor to a
child’s education. Schools can either
ignore this fact or recognize the potential
of the parent.
• Parent involvement must be a legitimate
element of education. It deserves equal
emphasis with elements such as program
improvement and evaluation.
• Parent involvement is a process, not a
program of activities. It requires ongoing
energy and effort.
• Parent involvement requires a
vision, policy, and framework. A
consensus of understanding is important.
• Parents’ interaction with their own
children is the cornerstone of parent
involvement. A program must recognize
the value, diversity, and difficulty of this
• Most barriers to parent involvement are
found within school practices. They are
not found with parents.
• Any parent can be “hard to reach.” Parents
must be identified and approached individually;
they are not defined by gender, ethnicity, family
situation, education, or income.
• Successful parent involvement nurtures
relationships and partnerships. It strengthens
bonds between home and school, parent and
teacher, parent and school, school and
Barriers to Involvement
• Lack of a school environment that supports
• School practices that do not accommodate the
diversity of family needs;
• Child care constraints;
• Families’ past negative experiences with schools
and/or feelings of uncertainty about “treading
on school territory.”
• Cultural differences (language barriers,
attitudes toward professionals, lack of
knowledge of the American education
• Primacy of basic needs (food, clothing,
and shelter take precedence over
• Feelings of inadequacy associated with
difference in income or education;
• Safety, especially in inner-city school
• Uncertainty about what to do; and,
• Lack of time.
• The brochure, “100 Ways for Parents to
be Involved in Their Child’s Education” is
available from the National PTA;
– Based on the National Standards for
Parent/Family Involvement Programs.
Remember These 10
• Family members are equal partners in a
• The home environment is the “primary”
• Schools must respect the diversity o
families and their varied needs.
• All families care about their children.
• Family involvement is important through
all years of a child’s education.
• Family involvement takes many forms and
may not require a family’s presence at
• Families, schools, and communities are
closely interconnected and must
collaborate in educating children.
• School leaders and staff need support and
training in how to encourage family
• One size does not fit all when developing
• Change takes time and building successful
partnerships requires much effort over
• Become involved in your local school.
• Contact a Parent-Educator Resource
Center near you for information on
upcoming parent training opportunities.