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21/12/12
Parent Yarns - Learning Together:
parent engagement in Australian schools




    Tess McPeake, Program Coordinator
             The Smith Family
         Darwin, Northern Territory


           Parent and Community Engagement project   2
• Australian disadvantaged children

                 • School at the centre approach

                 • Educating girls

                 • Impact of parent engagement

                 • Parent engagement project

                 • Parents’ feedback

                 • Parent Yarns documentary



Parent and Community Engagement project            3
Our history




              Respect and Caring; Inclusiveness and
              Diversity; Collaboration and Teamwork;
                     Innovation and Creativity;
                 Excellence and Professionalism

              Parent and Community Engagement project   4
Australia’s hidden problem

Out of every 10 Australian
children, there is 1 child
like Emily who is living
in financial disadvantage.

1 in 10 amounts to almost
606,0001 Australian children
living in households where
no parent works.
Our vision, mission and belief

                             A better future for young
 Our vision
                                Australians in need


                   To create opportunities for young
 Our mission   Australians in need by providing long-term
               support for their participation in education


  Our belief       Every child deserves a chance
               Respect and Caring; Inclusiveness and
               Diversity; Collaboration and Teamwork;
                      Innovation and Creativity;
                  Excellence and Professionalism

                Parent and Community Engagement project       6
The national context for our work
Relationship between student
background and educational outcomes
is more pronounced in Australia than in                                             Tertiary
other comparable high performing
OECD countries, such as Canada.
                                                          Secondary

                                                                                          Students from high
                                   Primary                                                  socio-economic
                                                                                            background are
          Early                                                  Year 12 completion        three times more
                                                                rates are significantly     likely to attend
          Years                                                     lower (56%) for         university than
                                                                  students from low       students from low
                                 Around a third of Indigenous      socio-economic           socio-economic
                                  Year 5 students are below     backgrounds than for           background
     A third of children            the national minimum         students from high
     living in the most              standard for reading           socio-economic
       disadvantaged                                             backgrounds (75%)
     communities start
           school
     developmentally
         vulnerable
Parent and Community Engagement project   8
Parent and Community Engagement project   9
Parent and Community Engagement project   10
Australia’s Northern Territory
                                                                     comprises a land area of
                                                                     1,346,200 km2 (6 times
                                                                     bigger than the UK)




The Northern Territory is the third
largest of all Australian states and
territories but has the smallest
population and the highest
proportion of Indigenous people. Darwin is the capital city
                                    with an estimated
                                    population of 110,000.




                           Parent and Community Engagement project                                    11
44% of all Northern
                                                                            Territory students were
                                                                              Indigenous in 2012


                                                                               68.7% of all enrolled
                                                                               Indigenous students
                                                                             attend school regularly,
                                                                              compared to 90.6% of
                                                                            non-Indigenous students




http://www.det.nt.gov.au/students/at-school/enrolment-attendance/enrolment-attendance-statistics




                                  Parent and Community Engagement project                          12
Responding to disadvantage in the NT
• Vulnerable students need wrap around support and to
  be exposed to high expectations
• ‘The challenge for our community is seeing so many
  Indigenous girls with so much potential pushing prams
  at age 14.’



                 Respect and Caring; Inclusiveness and
                 Diversity; Collaboration and Teamwork;
                              nd Creativity;
                    Excellence and Professionalism

                 Parent and Community Engagement project   13
School at the centre approach




                                                  Families &

                                                  services




        Parent and Community Engagement project                14
Why put school at the centre?

• School is our primary program delivery platform

• School can be the community’s most stable asset
• School-community-business partnerships assist
  vulnerable families
• Parent involvement in student’s learning has been
  shown to increase attendance, retention and success




                 Parent and Community Engagement project   15
Parents get engaged in learning




             Respect and Caring; Inclusiveness and
             Diversity; Collaboration and Teamwork;
                    Innovation and Creativity;
                Excellence and Professionalism

             Parent and Community Engagement project   16
Dad’s contribute to children’s learning




              Respect and Caring; Inclusiveness and
              Diversity; Collaboration and Teamwork;
                     Innovation and Creativity;
                 Excellence and Professionalism

               Parent and Community Engagement project   17
Parents aspire for students to finish year 12




              Respect and Caring; Inclusiveness and
              Diversity; Collaboration and Teamwork;
                     Innovation and Creativity;
                 Excellence and Professionalism

              Parent and Community Engagement project   18
Indigenous girls in the NT are…
• Five times more likely to become pregnant than non-Indigenous
  girls
• Less likely to complete Year 12
• Less likely to join the labour force after leaving school
• More likely to be in the criminal justice system
• More likely to become single parents (in 2011, 32 percent of all
  Indigenous births had no paternity attributed)
• Indigenous women and girls are more likely to experience
  domestic violence than non-Indigenous women and girls.



                    Parent and Community Engagement project      19
Educating girls is part of the answer
• International evidence indicates that educating girls and women
  has positive impacts on reducing early pregnancy
• Creates intergenerational education benefits


                                                     Each additional year of formal
                                                     education completed by a
                                                     mother translates into her
                                                     children remaining in school
                                                     for an additional one-third to
                                                     one-half year (Filmer 2000)



                   Parent and Community Engagement project                     20
Parent and Community Engagement project   21
Indigenous children behind from the start
• Many Indigenous children start school behind their non-
  Indigenous classmates (up to 60% in Western Australia).
• ‘The job of parents has changed; but in some cases, no-
  one told the parents’, Professor Colleen Hayward, AM




                 Parent and Community Engagement project    22
Parent and Community Engagement project
• Australian Government program
• Schools where we have established trust and goodwill,
  shared goals and a proven record of working effectively




• For parents with children aged 0 - 16 years attending
  3 secondary schools and 1 primary school

                  Parent and Community Engagement project   23
Parent Yarns−Learning Together
• Values driven
• Shared experience and appreciating the ‘pearls’ within
• Facilitated, collaborative, co-constructed sessions

                                             • Whole of school approach
                                               with parents, teachers and
                                               school leaders learning at
                                               the same time

                                             •Tough, fun and symbolic



                Parent and Community Engagement project                 24
Parent and Community Engagement project   25
Wordle
Parents’ voices at the centre of the design and the program




                  Parent and Community Engagement project     26
Parent and Community Engagement project   27
Designed and facilitated by
Marilynn Willis and Julianne Willis (TLE North)




              Parent and Community Engagement project   28
Evaluation findings
Proportion of Indigenous parents participating in Parent Yarns


                Total    Indigenous Per
Parent Yarns
               parents     parents  cent
  Term 1         53         20          44
  Term 2         54         32          53
  Term 3         24         7           29
  Term 4         34         16          47
 Average         41         19          43
Cumulative
                165         75
   total




                             Parent and Community Engagement project   29
Parent and Community Engagement project   30
“It takes a community to raise a child; we all share the same
                 dreams for our children”




                    Parent and Community Engagement project     31
“It’s the power of the conversation protocol – it was
                                       really strong. The more you share in that structured
                                       way, the more options you get.”

                                       “…all the parties that were there—parents, staff, kids—
                                       talked together and worked together for a common
                                       cause. It was a whole new way of seeing things done in
                                       a school; everyone had their say.”




“It became a really fun night that got everyone involved, emotionally, mentally and physically.
 I felt like a big kid at the end of the night! Yeah, it brought out the child in all of us. The last school
I did try to get involved with but they didn’t have anything like this.”

                                      Parent and Community Engagement project                            32
Confidence and empowerment

“I’ve been able to build confidence and respect
for the teachers—I asked myself ‘what can I do to
help not only my daughter but other children as
well’—you can actually get involved with the
school and help them, its really amazing.”




                                   “I wasn’t sure if it was worth my precious
                                   time—but I really liked how the yarn had a
                                   schedule and everyone could have a say if
                                   they like with no pressure if they just want
                                   to listen. Now my school’s parent yarn
                                   community has my name on their list and I
                                   feel totally empowered by this.”


                         Parent and Community Engagement project                  33
“It makes me happy when my Mum joins into The Smith Family activities
because it shows me she cares about things that happen in our relationships
and in my learning and education. When all the parents are together and
helping each other, it’s like when my friends are together helping and
supporting each other.”




                       Parent and Community Engagement project           34
Parent Yarns – Learning Together documentary



            M 3R m c
           sNgV0J
   utu.be /
http://yo




                       Parent and Community Engagement project   35

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Parental engagement in northern territory australia tess mc peake

  • 2. Parent Yarns - Learning Together: parent engagement in Australian schools Tess McPeake, Program Coordinator The Smith Family Darwin, Northern Territory Parent and Community Engagement project 2
  • 3. • Australian disadvantaged children • School at the centre approach • Educating girls • Impact of parent engagement • Parent engagement project • Parents’ feedback • Parent Yarns documentary Parent and Community Engagement project 3
  • 4. Our history Respect and Caring; Inclusiveness and Diversity; Collaboration and Teamwork; Innovation and Creativity; Excellence and Professionalism Parent and Community Engagement project 4
  • 5. Australia’s hidden problem Out of every 10 Australian children, there is 1 child like Emily who is living in financial disadvantage. 1 in 10 amounts to almost 606,0001 Australian children living in households where no parent works.
  • 6. Our vision, mission and belief A better future for young Our vision Australians in need To create opportunities for young Our mission Australians in need by providing long-term support for their participation in education Our belief Every child deserves a chance Respect and Caring; Inclusiveness and Diversity; Collaboration and Teamwork; Innovation and Creativity; Excellence and Professionalism Parent and Community Engagement project 6
  • 7. The national context for our work Relationship between student background and educational outcomes is more pronounced in Australia than in Tertiary other comparable high performing OECD countries, such as Canada. Secondary Students from high Primary socio-economic background are Early Year 12 completion three times more rates are significantly likely to attend Years lower (56%) for university than students from low students from low Around a third of Indigenous socio-economic socio-economic Year 5 students are below backgrounds than for background A third of children the national minimum students from high living in the most standard for reading socio-economic disadvantaged backgrounds (75%) communities start school developmentally vulnerable
  • 8. Parent and Community Engagement project 8
  • 9. Parent and Community Engagement project 9
  • 10. Parent and Community Engagement project 10
  • 11. Australia’s Northern Territory comprises a land area of 1,346,200 km2 (6 times bigger than the UK) The Northern Territory is the third largest of all Australian states and territories but has the smallest population and the highest proportion of Indigenous people. Darwin is the capital city with an estimated population of 110,000. Parent and Community Engagement project 11
  • 12. 44% of all Northern Territory students were Indigenous in 2012 68.7% of all enrolled Indigenous students attend school regularly, compared to 90.6% of non-Indigenous students http://www.det.nt.gov.au/students/at-school/enrolment-attendance/enrolment-attendance-statistics Parent and Community Engagement project 12
  • 13. Responding to disadvantage in the NT • Vulnerable students need wrap around support and to be exposed to high expectations • ‘The challenge for our community is seeing so many Indigenous girls with so much potential pushing prams at age 14.’ Respect and Caring; Inclusiveness and Diversity; Collaboration and Teamwork; nd Creativity; Excellence and Professionalism Parent and Community Engagement project 13
  • 14. School at the centre approach Families & services Parent and Community Engagement project 14
  • 15. Why put school at the centre? • School is our primary program delivery platform • School can be the community’s most stable asset • School-community-business partnerships assist vulnerable families • Parent involvement in student’s learning has been shown to increase attendance, retention and success Parent and Community Engagement project 15
  • 16. Parents get engaged in learning Respect and Caring; Inclusiveness and Diversity; Collaboration and Teamwork; Innovation and Creativity; Excellence and Professionalism Parent and Community Engagement project 16
  • 17. Dad’s contribute to children’s learning Respect and Caring; Inclusiveness and Diversity; Collaboration and Teamwork; Innovation and Creativity; Excellence and Professionalism Parent and Community Engagement project 17
  • 18. Parents aspire for students to finish year 12 Respect and Caring; Inclusiveness and Diversity; Collaboration and Teamwork; Innovation and Creativity; Excellence and Professionalism Parent and Community Engagement project 18
  • 19. Indigenous girls in the NT are… • Five times more likely to become pregnant than non-Indigenous girls • Less likely to complete Year 12 • Less likely to join the labour force after leaving school • More likely to be in the criminal justice system • More likely to become single parents (in 2011, 32 percent of all Indigenous births had no paternity attributed) • Indigenous women and girls are more likely to experience domestic violence than non-Indigenous women and girls. Parent and Community Engagement project 19
  • 20. Educating girls is part of the answer • International evidence indicates that educating girls and women has positive impacts on reducing early pregnancy • Creates intergenerational education benefits Each additional year of formal education completed by a mother translates into her children remaining in school for an additional one-third to one-half year (Filmer 2000) Parent and Community Engagement project 20
  • 21. Parent and Community Engagement project 21
  • 22. Indigenous children behind from the start • Many Indigenous children start school behind their non- Indigenous classmates (up to 60% in Western Australia). • ‘The job of parents has changed; but in some cases, no- one told the parents’, Professor Colleen Hayward, AM Parent and Community Engagement project 22
  • 23. Parent and Community Engagement project • Australian Government program • Schools where we have established trust and goodwill, shared goals and a proven record of working effectively • For parents with children aged 0 - 16 years attending 3 secondary schools and 1 primary school Parent and Community Engagement project 23
  • 24. Parent Yarns−Learning Together • Values driven • Shared experience and appreciating the ‘pearls’ within • Facilitated, collaborative, co-constructed sessions • Whole of school approach with parents, teachers and school leaders learning at the same time •Tough, fun and symbolic Parent and Community Engagement project 24
  • 25. Parent and Community Engagement project 25
  • 26. Wordle Parents’ voices at the centre of the design and the program Parent and Community Engagement project 26
  • 27. Parent and Community Engagement project 27
  • 28. Designed and facilitated by Marilynn Willis and Julianne Willis (TLE North) Parent and Community Engagement project 28
  • 29. Evaluation findings Proportion of Indigenous parents participating in Parent Yarns Total Indigenous Per Parent Yarns parents parents cent Term 1 53 20 44 Term 2 54 32 53 Term 3 24 7 29 Term 4 34 16 47 Average 41 19 43 Cumulative 165 75 total Parent and Community Engagement project 29
  • 30. Parent and Community Engagement project 30
  • 31. “It takes a community to raise a child; we all share the same dreams for our children” Parent and Community Engagement project 31
  • 32. “It’s the power of the conversation protocol – it was really strong. The more you share in that structured way, the more options you get.” “…all the parties that were there—parents, staff, kids— talked together and worked together for a common cause. It was a whole new way of seeing things done in a school; everyone had their say.” “It became a really fun night that got everyone involved, emotionally, mentally and physically. I felt like a big kid at the end of the night! Yeah, it brought out the child in all of us. The last school I did try to get involved with but they didn’t have anything like this.” Parent and Community Engagement project 32
  • 33. Confidence and empowerment “I’ve been able to build confidence and respect for the teachers—I asked myself ‘what can I do to help not only my daughter but other children as well’—you can actually get involved with the school and help them, its really amazing.” “I wasn’t sure if it was worth my precious time—but I really liked how the yarn had a schedule and everyone could have a say if they like with no pressure if they just want to listen. Now my school’s parent yarn community has my name on their list and I feel totally empowered by this.” Parent and Community Engagement project 33
  • 34. “It makes me happy when my Mum joins into The Smith Family activities because it shows me she cares about things that happen in our relationships and in my learning and education. When all the parents are together and helping each other, it’s like when my friends are together helping and supporting each other.” Parent and Community Engagement project 34
  • 35. Parent Yarns – Learning Together documentary M 3R m c sNgV0J utu.be / http://yo Parent and Community Engagement project 35

Editor's Notes

  1. HOLDING SLIDE
  2. Shortly before Christmas in 1922, five Australian businessmen were returning from a trip to the Blue Mountains. They believed that all children should be able to join in at Christmas so they went to an orphanage where children were without the love of families surrounding them and gave them the joys of Christmas - toys and sweets. They were happy to do this anonymously and when the matron asked them their names so that the children could write a letter of thanks, one of the men replied: "Er .. Smith." "What about the others?" asked the matron. "They're Smiths too," replied the man "We're all Smiths. We're The Smith Family..." And so The Smith Family came into existence. During the Depression (late 1920s and early 30s) we supplied the food and clothing needs of thousands of Australians - 1958 ran a special hospital to care for children with rheumatic fever. 1970s: refugee families fleeing war in Vietnam and Timor and Darwin residents recovering Cyclone Tracey. 1970s and 80s spending more on direct financial relief - intergenerational disadvantage. Families told us: "help us help our children to get an education. “ Learning for Life offers students financial scholarships, personal attention through qualified staff and volunteer mentors and access to other support in the area of reading, financial and computer literacy.
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2011). Labour force, Australia: Labour force status and other characteristics of families Australian population March 2012 was 22.6 million New South Wales 7.3 m Victoria 5.6 m Queensland 4.5 m Western Australia 2.4 m South Australia 1.6 m Tasmania 0.5 m ACT 0.3 m Northern Territory 0.2 m Australia 22.6m
  4. Darwin is a multi cultural city that was settled by Greek and Chinese migrants and continues to be home over 50 cultural groups.
  5. Family centre within the school – focus for literacy, well-being and capacity-building programs for families Opens the door to community services that may not otherwise be accessed due to cultural barriers Welcoming place for community members and parents to become involved in school programs and/or use school facilities Students gain from support, mentoring and role-models among parents, business and their community
  6. TSF ( Victorian Extended School Hub pilot ’ ) Holistic support for student retention and achievement & shared responsibility for improving educational outcomes (not just the school ’ s job) Early identification of students needs and quicker access to services Increased engagement and participation in school Improved self-confidence and well-being More positive school environment Improved communication between schools and families Build community connectedness and capacity Widen schools ’ external contacts, networks and partnerships – increased ‘ social capital ’ Develops stronger service delivery between schools and community services such as public housing or health services Can promote lifelong learning by reengaging adults with education through adult learning opportunities and closer involvement in their children ’ s learning Not for profit organisations have the complex mix of skills required to build and sustain partnerships around the school Reduced burden on school staff and complements their core educational skills NFP ’ s bring business, community and council groups in to schools in disadvantaged communities Can help mediate the cultural barriers between sectors. School-Community Partnerships: Discussion Paper, TSF, October 2012
  7. 2012 report provides a synopsis of published literature on parental engagement. Evidence over the past 4 decades shows that positive parental engagement can and does significantly influence student academic attainment. Important distinction between involving parents in schooling and engaging parents in learning, the latter has the greatest positive impact. Evidence shows that engagement of parents in learning outcomes in the home relate to three key ideas: Academic socialisation Communicating with children about parental expectations for education and about the value and enjoyment of learning Discussing learning strategies with children Linking school work to current events and other topics Fostering educational aspirations and making preparations and plans for the future Providing a stimulating home learning environment, and making learning enjoyable and rewarding Focusing on activities that are directed at building students ’ decision-making and problem solving skills and affirming their growing autonomy, independence and academic abilities. Parental role construction (parents ’ perception of their role in their child’s education) Parents ’ beliefs about child outcomes and who is responsible for these outcomes Perceptions of what family, teachers, other parents expect from them as parents Parental behaviours related to those beliefs and expectations Lowest likelihood of engagement occurs when parents do not believe they should be involved in their child ’s education and have a low sense of efficacy about their influence over their children’s educational outcomes. Parenting style Supporting the child and encouraging conversation and exchange between parent and child is more conducive to emotional wellbeing, which leads to academic and social success Being emotionally distant yet requiring children to obtain high levels of academic achievement can lead to low self-esteem and can have a negative impact on academic achievement Parental engagement in learning and schooling: lessons from research, Family-School & Community Partnerships Bureau. A report by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (2012)
  8. One of our partner principals said: ‘I’ve never met a dumb baby” Children are born to learn, parental engagement starts in infancy and is maintained during childhood into teenage years and into early adulthood. Though the nature of engagement may change, the level of commitment from parents needs to remain steady. Parents, schools and the general community need to build a mutual understanding of positive parental engagement. For parents to be effectively engaged in learning, schools need to build trust, which may require effort and creativity , particularly for ‘hard to reach’ groups including those from diverse backgrounds
  9. Social and emotional programs can positively effect wellbeing and academic achievement, for example TSF ’s experiential mentoring for Raminging, Tiwi Islands and Alice Springs students has improved Year 12 retention Interventions have the greatest impact when they are focused on: linking behaviours of families, teachers and students to learning and learning outcomes A clear understanding of the roles of parents and teachers in learning Promote family behaviours that are conducive to learning Cultivate consistent, positive relations between the school and parents. Parent engagement strategies are more likely to succeed when: Teachers know how to communicate effectively with parents Where dedicated school staff work with parents Where there is strong support from the principal for this work
  10. Educating girls yields a higher rate of return than any other investment in the developing world ” , Lawrence Summers, then Chief Economist, World Bank, 1992
  11. The girl coaches don ’ t feel sorry for the girls- they believe in them. Girls at the Centre helps participating girls improve their attendance and retention to Year 12 by providing motivations and rationales for being at school. Besides the availability of the Girls Room to G@C students, other incentives include: Girl-directed activities such as scrap-booking, painting, football or cooking Community liaison activities such as work-shadowing, breakfast-with-a-mentor, FAST, experiential mentoring Brokered activities and programs such as financial management, goal setting, health awareness, self-esteem, conflict resolution and negotiation skills Work experience Outcome levels: Year 7 – building expectations around appropriate G@C behaviours, team work and mutual respect Year 8 – undertake ‘ Core of Life ’ program, a pregnancy awareness package co-run with a midwife Year 9 – exposed to cultures of employment and notions of career aspiration
  12. Parents are expected to send their children to school knowing their letters, colours, numbers and shapes, as well as basic mathematics, grammar and sentence structure. To be part of this story, parents need to be educated and available to be their children ’ s first teachers. Indigenous families experience a steady stream of life stress events, which undermine their efforts to keep kids attending regularly and can make children more vulnerable to emotional and social distress. Schools are encouraged to reach out and create positive cultures within the school where children feel safe and welcome.
  13. 2011-12 Reading is as easy as 1, 2, 3 Parenting in the tricky years; Help! I ’ m about to have a teenager! Cybersafety workshops Families and Schools Together Parent Yarns Parents ’ Voices in Education forum
  14. Key ideas and tools Wordle – capturing main ideas Artistic therapies Experiential learning activities Conversation protocol – solution finding Effective learning Appreciative inquiry
  15. Footprints remind Aboriginal people that its not just marks on the land, it ’ s the connecting with country by walking on Aboriginal land. Phase 1: Build relationships/connections/tools Phase 2: Shared language around learning; positive, hope-filled action – workshops, action teams Phase 3: school wide positive behaviour
  16. Used at parents ’ voices forum to map the next steps for school/community/parent engagement At parent yarns in planning for the future At all staff meeting about coping with the new curriculum and assessment regime
  17. 2012 story Planning meetings – leadership, staff, TSF and TLE North First parent yarns – who do we want our children to be Design & re-design of site based term sessions reflecting needs Evidence collection - evaluation