Often as working parents we somehow feel we are not always connected to our children’s learning because we are not present at the school gate or in the classroom. Much of our time and energy is devoted to just organising and balancing our family and work life. There is a sense of guilt and anxiety attached to this situation.
If we see learning as bigger than schooling, then somehow our role is not diminished but rather broaden beyond what we could imagine. Attending school while important is not the entirety of our children’s lives as life long learners.
Schools, communities and families are taking opportunities to partner in learning. Research is valuing the influence of families and communities but we also need to value our role and see ourselves as having a significant influence on our children’s learning, development, health, safety and wellbeing. We want our children to be responsible citizens who can capably navigate the world in which they live. We will make contributions to their learning all their lives and they will teach us many things also, including patience and persistence.
For the time our children are at school we have support on that journey. There is a curriculum, teachers, expectations and guidance in many forms. It is our responsibility to take up these opportunities and use this time to develop skills and understanding that will carry us through.
For young and primary age children, we lay fundamental skills. Reading, discussing, reflecting and collaborating through activities encouraged by the school go a long way to partnering in our children’s learning. At our school, term overviews, family sessions, parent meetings, showcasing of children’s learning, blogs and other forms of communication provide parents with a way to partner and buy into the current learning. Your presence is the time you spend reading with your children, discussing relevant issues, showing an authentic interest in the current learning and even modelling action. By knowing about the learning at school we can make connections for the children and ourselves. Knowing something of the learning makes explicit connections. Suddenly we understand why they are going on an excursion to an environmental park, Ceres or request guest speakers in a particular area.
This term, our school has an inquiry that seeks to answer the big question, “How are we called to care for our common home?” The children will develop understandings about how to act responsibly and sustainably, know their actions have an impact on the environment and develop an appreciation for the environment and living things. The last few posts should assist you to see this question in the light of the gospel message. ” What it means to be a steward of creation.”