Home and school associations or parent councils form an important part of the school team. These associations/councils are composed of an Executive and parents and/or community members who volunteer within the school. These groups support programs such as breakfast and hot lunch programs, fundraisers, construction of playgrounds, libraries and physical education activities and the procurement of technology for classrooms and offer parental educational sessions.
Research has proven that children whose parents are active in the school environment are better achievers. Parents are a child’s first teacher; they know their child better than anyone. Partnering with the school gives parents and educators a better insight into changes in the education system, and allows parents to actively support these changes as well as discuss their concerns and the effect of these changes on their children. The teamwork of the students, parents and educators leads to the success of program changes in education.
Being a member of a provincial organization brings parents together with Department of Education committees and offers the opportunity to consult on issues and attend educational workshops, which would not be available to individual parents. Parents are a vital asset to success in education and need to be seen and respected as collaborators.
At the national level, the Canadian Home and School Federation (CHSF), parent volunteers meet with educational associates to discuss issues that are shared across the country. Parents and educators alike are examining best practices in the fields of mental health, physical health, stress in both our educators and children, use of technology, and inclusion – to mention a few topics. CHSF is a member of the Education Coalition (Copyright), continuing to support the current copyright legislation. The opportunity to speak with Senators and Members of Parliament on the bills coming before them for consideration and the ability to bring their messages back to provincial parents and to share parental concerns is invaluable.
Home and School Associations and Parent Councils support excellence in public education and advocate for the social well-being of children and youth.
Photo: Anne-Sophie Hudon-Bienvenue
First published in Education Canada, December 2017