The Summer Learning Program has the potential to become a valuable opportunity to involve parents in their children’s education and encourage them to develop a positive relationship with schools.
For example, inviting parents/grandparents/caregivers to attend the first half hour of summer school (along with their child) allows the teacher to model a literacy or numeracy strategy or skill through a “read-a-loud” based on the curricular expectation that has been highlighted for the day.
Or, invite parents to attend the final half hour of summer school each day, at which time the teachers can present an activity that will become the “At Home Learning Activity” (i.e., a child-centred task or game designed to encourage the child to practice the skill or strategy related to the learning focus of the day). Parents can help their child prepare and practice the game or task before taking it home.
Another idea: initiate a Parent Drop-In Programme in which parents gather daily in the staff room for refreshments provided by the school (don’t be surprised if parents start bringing treats of their own!). Welcome younger siblings too.
At these informal get-togethers, find opportunities to help expand parents’ knowledge by asking them to name topics about which they would like to learn more (topics which often come up include safety on the Internet, healthy food, and sibling rivalries).
Program leads can then bring in speakers to talk, share tips, and answer questions related to these topics. Speakers can be school board personnel (for example, social workers, information technology experts or dieticians from the community).
And initiate a morning sign-in process. Inform parents that they cannot simply “drop off” their child; instead, they need to park and sign their children in. This procedure can be reversed at the end of the day. This not only assures a safe arrival and departure, but also gives staff an opportunity to talk with parents and update them on progress or issues with their child.