Parents need to engage with their child and with their child’s school. This is a fact that everyone knows. Education starts at home and the parents are the first teacher, but schools also have a responsibility to those families. Many schools today have a very low number of parents attending meetings or coming to conferences. Some of this is because everyone isn’t a great parent, but this is also because some schools aren’t a welcoming place for parents. Most schools have very little supports in place for parents outside of their child. Some would say this is not the school’s responsibility, to support families, but I think that support is what gets parents to engage. A school needs to be a part of the community and feel like a community.
There was a school here in the city that had a thriving Parent’s Center that was created during the building redevelopments in the early 2000s. The actual redesign of the school floor plan included a Parent Center. A place where parents could meet each other, act as volunteers, use the computers and learn about a variety of things like parenting, nutrition, and ways to further their education. In fact, a parent volunteer was able to use computers in the Parent Center to complete her degree. She now works as a Paraprofessional. The Parent Center also became a safe haven for teachers needing a break or students needing their hair braided, a change of clothes, or a shower. These are the kind of things are community needs. Due to COVID and other circumstances, the Parent Center closed for a while and I’m happy to say that it will reopen soon! This is not only great news for parents, but for the school also. It gives everyone an opportunity to reengage and come together for our babies.