Parental involvement is defined parents’ participations, supports, engagements, cooperation,communications, and interactions in their children’s learning, education and also school life. There are fourmain stakeholders in parental involvement which are parents (families), teachers (schools), students(children) and community. Each stakeholders have to cooperate, coordinate with one another and be willingto contribute and take the responsibilities, in order to achieve the goal of providing good and efficient,effective education for children.According to the literature review of “The Opinions on Parental Cooperation in the View of KindergartenParents” (Yuen, 2004), there are six forms and types of effective family and school involvement proposed byEpstein (2002) in early childhood education.
I will mention two of those forms.The first type is parenting, which is about kindergartens use different ways to educate parents the properways and methods of educating children at different ages. Holding lectures, workshops, seminars and talksfor parents to join is a common way.
For example, the workshop and lecture can invite professional lecturerto hold a lecture about how to help K1 children develop self-care ability for parents to join. Therefore,parents can learn the knowledge and use proper attitudes and ways to nurture their K1 children, it helpsparents master the role of “parents” and know what they should do and should not do to their children.Another type of parental engagement is communicating. Communicating can be bidirectional, two-way andfollow-up, teachers (schools) inform and share children’s (students’) learning progress and performance toparents (families), whether the performances of students on specific aspect are especially weak or strong. Itcan be conducted through face-to-face meetings, telephone and learning assessment forms. Besides, parentscan inform and share the performance of children at home to teachers through writing down slips on thechildren’s handbook.
For example, parents can call teachers to talk about the situation of K1 children givingup nappies at home. Therefore, kindergarten teachers can act in concert with parents at school.In aspect of purpose of parental involvement, for parents (families), they can understand the performancesand learning progress of children (students) at school and use proper ways to nurture children at home.Therefore, children can learn and practice at home, not only at school, home is also a place for children tolearn and practice. It can increase the efficiency and learning outcomes in a more effective and productiveway. For instance, if a K1 child learn to give up nappies at school for about 8 hours, but not to practice thisat home, there’s still no significant results and achievement. On the other hands, if parents want to letchildren start giving up nappies, they can inform teachers through parental involvement and teachers act inconcert with parents at schools.
To conclude, the purpose of parental involvement is about schools andfamilies using the proper and suitable methods to nurture and educate children through coordination.Parental involvement is extremely important and effective. According to Bronfenbrenner’s EcologicalModel of Child Development, every child is an individual and it is affected by other aspects directly andindirectly. In Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model, every child is the core, and affected by outer layers whichare microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem and chronosystem. There are direct and indirectrelationships and connections between the core and other five layers.
Also, the five layers can affect the core(individual) directly and indirectly.The nearest layer is microsystem which provides the strongest direct effects on the individual (child). Familyis involved in microsystem, including parents, grandparents, also the caregivers such as maids. Sinceparents, grandparents are the caregivers of children, they take care of children all the time including dailydiet and living, they are the closest and most familiar people of children. The speeches, attitudes, behaviorsof them affects children the most as they stay together from day to night, expect the time at school. Forinstance, Dory is a 3-year-old boy who is living with his father, grandparents and maid, and his father andmother are divorcing recently. Dory’s father always say “Hate you” on the phone to Dory’s mother at home,then Dory listened it and always say “Hate you” to classmates and teachers at school even though he doesn’tknow the meaning of “Hate you”.Apart from family, schools and peers are also involved in microsystem.
As it is necessary for school-agechildren to go to study at kindergartens. Some of children may start go to pre-nursery class at age 2. Atschools, children usually stay at schools for about four hours in five days a week, some of them even stay foreight hours. Therefore, teachers in schools are the most familiar people for children except family. Besides,peers (classmates) are in the same class also cause great effects on children directly as they learn and playtogether at school. They have direct interaction and communication during playing and learning. Forinstance, Dory cried hard suddenly when he was playing with classmates in family corner of classroom.
It isbecause Dory’s classmate said “I am wearing aprons, I am mama!” and it made Dory feel upset and self-abased. It due to the situation of Dory’s family which is father and mother is divorcing, it has been a longday Dory without mum. The speeches of Dory’s classmates made Dory think about his mother and miss her.The second layer in Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model is mesosystem. The individual (child) is affected bythe connection and interaction between two stakeholders such as teachers and parents. For instance, Doryalways says disrespectful language “Hate you” to peers and teachers and suddenly cry at school.
Then,teachers would like to know the reason of Dory’s behaviors and what happened to him, the first personteachers think about is Dory’s caregivers who is family. Teachers would communicate with child’s familyand caregiver in direct method, such as telephone. On the phone, teachers can know about the performanceof Dory at home and also the information about the child’s caregivers such as maid, mother, and father fromchild’s family, also the updated situation of Dory’s family which is Dory’s father is getting divorced with hismum. The phenomenon of saying disrespectful language may due to the caregivers” speeches as childrenlike to copy and imitate adults’ speeches, attitudes and behaviors and the unstable emotion of Dory due to thechanges of his family. After understanding the reason, teachers and parents can act in concert with eachother to use the correct ways to nurture and educate children such as reminding parents avoid saying fouland disrespectful languages at home.
Also, teachers can care more about Dory’s emotions and behaviors inschool. Telephone calling between teachers and children’s family is a kind of parental involvement. In thiscase, parental involvement provides the effectiveness of using proper ways to nurture children.To sum up, parental involvement means parents’ engagements, participation, cooperation in their children’sschool life and learning through various forms and ways such as two-way communication.
The purpose ofparental involvement is using the most suitable and effective ways to nurture children jointly, also it isextremely important and essential for parents to involve in children’s school life. Microsystem andmesosystem in Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model shows the direct and indirect relationships, connectionsbetween schools and families, also states the influences of different aspects to the individual.