From the Principal - June 2022

From the Principal - June 2022

From the Principal – June 2022

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How do we complete each other – Parent engagement in learning and schooling

At a Staff Briefing recently, I put to those gathered, the question, how do we complete each other? Much like stopping to consider the effectiveness of interactions and expectations in a household, the answer can often be found in the sense of purpose and values we share.

Trust of course, is a key requisite to fulfilling our roles, and our commitment to our students and community.

Working toward the final week of this first semester, as many of our students undertake assessment to test the knowledge and skills they have acquired, it seems timely to share this question with parents, and consider the research on parental engagement.

Whether your daughter is completing her first semester of Pre-Prep or is preparing for her final months of secondary education, the extent to which parents contribute in a positive, consistent manner with the School, will complement your daughter’s learning and wellbeing. Effective approaches differ across age groups and needs differ with individual students, however, trust, just as with the working relationships of school staff, is fundamental for successful parental engagement.

Research conducted by the Family School and Community Partnerships Bureau, assisted by the Australian Government, provides some valuable insight into the common principles for effective parent engagement, namely, academic socialisation, parental role construction and parenting style.

I will include a brief summary of what can be read in the report.

Academic socialisation involves:

  • 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; and
  • Focusing on activities which are directed at building students’ decision-making and problem-solving skills and affirming their growing autonomy, independence, and academic abilities.

Parental role construction:

  • Beliefs about appropriate and desirable child outcomes;
  • Beliefs about who is responsible for these outcomes;
  • Perceptions of what important group members (eg family, teachers, other parents) expect from them as parents; and
  • Parental behaviours related to those beliefs and expectations.

Parenting style:

  • Is supportive of the child and encourages conversation and exchange between the parent and child; and
  • Allows for the setting of limits and rules while making transparent the reasons behind decisions.

I offer these observations to you at a time where the media is largely reporting on social stressors in the home, and in the workplace, following our combined experience with the global pandemic. Purportedly, the intensity of emotional responses, such as, worry, fear, annoyance, and anger, appear to be on the rise and impacting wellbeing. It is also apparent that the pandemic, with the seemingly endless succession of mandates that we were required to follow for often unspecified lengths of time, has compelled schools, students, and parents to work together more closely and to develop a deeper appreciation of our complementary roles.

There is strong evidence that positive parent engagement can and does significantly influence student academic attainment and wellbeing. If we are to lessen the ongoing impact of changing conditions brought about as a result of the pandemic, reflecting on the potential of our combined influence on our young people can only serve to strengthen education at St Hilda’s and your daughter’s future.

Feedback from the Senior Education Profile (SEP) meetings has been very positive.

“I just wanted to say thank you so much for meeting with Erin and I today. Your guidance and assistance is so appreciated”

– Candice White, mother of Year 10 Student, Erin Michael

I trust that this final week will enable our Seniors to form some very special memories as they celebrate with their Formal, and across the School we celebrate each student’s personal and academic growth during the first six months of 2022.

Ms Wendy Lauman

Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Hope, Grace