LEARN ABOUT YOUR PARENT GROUPS Developing an information base about your parent groups is a good idea as there may be common questions or concerns that different groups have. Whilst you dont want to stereotype groups, a sensitive approach to learning about the needs of different groups can be useful. You may find that some parents prefer information presented in video form, others in written form and translated information for one parent may also be useful for another. Being able to present parents with comprehensive information about the area including supplementary schools, community support groups and English language classes can also prove valuable.
INTERPRETERS AND TRANSLATORS Having a databse of people within the school who speak different languages can be very useful for interpreting basic conversations. For more formal or confidential issues having a list of interpreters or translators can mean that information is clear on both sides and time is saved by accurate and precise conversations and written communication.
NEW ARRIVALS LINK PERSON Developing a system where there is a link person (key contact person) for each major language group can be an exxtremely valuable resource for both parents and staff. A link person can signpost
parents to community groups and supplementary groups in the commuity and can help new families
access the information they need and answer or refer any questions. A link person could have a formal role such as a Family Liaison Officers, or could be a volunteer, PTA member, parent representative,
or member of staff who speaks a specific language. A link person can also support parents in finding
English langauge courses in the area if they would like to develop
their English language skills.
KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE Communicating
with parents effectively is vital in order to support parents to support
their children. Communication barriers may include limited English, cultural misunderstandings
or differences in educational systems or expectations of parental involvement.
Key strategies to overcome these barriers inlcude: making school information
clear and accessible through the use of visuals, clear language and use of
translations where necessary and possible; having a system whereby interpreters
are available for parent-teacher meetings; running curriculum workshops to
explain key areas of the curriculum; and having an effective system for
involving parents in school life.
Helping parents to understand the curriculum can be achieved through running effective parent workshops of different aspects of the curriculum and providing accessible information that explains curriculum levels, assessment processes and curriculum content clearly.
SUPPORTING CHILDREN AT HOME There are many ways
parents can support their children at home many more than they probably
realise. Daily life provides ample opportunities to teach, learn and reinforce
concepts and skills for young and older children. Opportunities to develop
mathematical skills, scientific concepts and reading and writing skills all can
be found within the home. Making it fun is essential. Parents can also help
with structured homework and need to be encouraged to use the language they are
comfortable with to discuss concepts with their children. Rich deep communication
is the desired outcome and this can be achieved in any language.