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What is it?
Parent and family engagement refers to the extent to which parents / guardians / families play an active role in their child’s STEM education experiences.
Parent and family engagement strategies aim to improve student outcomes by informing parents / families about the importance of STEM education, engaging them in student STEM activities and successes, and encouraging conversations between parents and students about STEM disciplines and STEM careers.
How does it help?
Parents, families and guardians have a major influence on students’ engagement and achievement in STEM. Experiences at home have a greater impact on student achievement than experiences at school.
Improved parent engagement has been shown to have a positive impact on:
- Student grades and test scores
- Enrolment in advanced classes
- School attendance and completion
- Social skills and behaviour
- Engagement in school work
- Belief in the importance of STEM education by both parents and students
How do you do it?
Engagement of parents, carers and extended family is most effective when it is sustained, focuses on the local context and incorporates a variety of communication channels. Involve parents and families and promote STEM activities / programs through:
- information nights
- newsletters/website/parent communication channels
- face-to-face conversations
Want to know more?
- Parental engagement in learning and schooling: Lessons from research
Case study: St Gabriel’s Primary School
Teachers at St Gabriel’s Primary School in Adelaide engage parents and the community as part of the teaching and learning culture of their school. There is a strong emphasis on connecting learning at home with learning at school. The teachers develop relationships by sharing classroom teaching strategies with parents, for example in numeracy. They also run regular ‘open houses’, where parents visit the classroom and students show them their work. Teachers use online tools to collect parent feedback. Parents are also involved in authentic assessment.
For more information, see the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership’s Leading parental engagement initiatives case study and video on St Gabriel’s Primary School.