Parents are the Main Educators

December 5, 2018

By Ron Robertson

"Because of the mounting evidence of the importance of the home to the success of children in school, the time is ripe for teachers and administrators to take urgent measures toward strengthening their relationship with parents.

Parents are the main educators of their children. They are the first, longest, most continuous, most extensive, and most motivated teachers of their children. Research has shown that children do better when parents and teachers work together, respect, and trust each other and know what each is doing in the home and school to improve their lives.

The involvement of the child's family as an active participant in the educational process is critical to his/her success in life. "When home and school responsibilities are separated, the team approach is lost and sometimes the child is used as a competitive proving ground," says Dr. Bronfenbremer of Cornell University.

Cooperation between parent and teacher can be effective if and only if there is a strong feeling of goodwill toward people and a willingness to help each other with problems.

The use of parents in the classroom is one of the most rewarding areas of community involvement for the individual teacher. When parents are invited to assist in the classroom, increased opportunity for professional guidance to students becomes available. Parents can relieve the teacher of many tasks that do not require the teacher’s professional attention. The teacher can then devote more time to planning, diagnosing the individual needs of students, and prescribing learning activities to meet these needs.

Parents also bring skills to their tasks that professional educators do not have. Perhaps more important than all other reasons is the positive effects volunteering can have on the parents' themselves. Their involvement builds self-esteem for them as well as for their children. It also encourages a positive attitude about school for their children.

While recent estimates indicate that over half of the major school districts in the nation are implementing classroom volunteer programs, there is a lack of specific strategies for recruiting, training and evaluating classroom volunteers. Furthermore, there seems to be no single pattern of activities in which volunteers may fill roles from the most menial to the most complex; often the volunteer is simply relegated to the "housekeeping task" which the teacher refers not to do. The data does show that volunteers are most effective when their training is systematic and structured.

It should be noted that since each school will have varying needs, the cost of implementing a volunteer program will be minimal; however, the benefits for everyone are great."