To Be or Not To Be – Parental Involvement in Child Education

I am often asked – “How involved must parents be in their children’s education?” As an educationist, I have realised this confounds not just those whose kids study in kindergarten but those also studying in the primary, secondary and higher school education. Whilst different approaches are required across various stages of education, there is no questioning the fact that parents must be involved in whatever best way possible to whatever extent possible. For good reason.

Several studies undertaken have pointed to undeniable linkages in stellar student learning outcomes and the intricate involvement of parents within the education system. For e.g. a study conducted in 2010 by researchers at the University of Leicester and University of Leeds concluded that ‘parents’ effort is more important for a child’s educational attainment than the school’s effort, which in turn is more important than the child’s own effort’.

In other words, parents’ efforts towards their child’s educational achievement is very important, as it plays a more significant role than that of the school or child. Researchers derived that since a child whose parents put more effort into his/her education does better at school, regardless of the socio-economic standing of the family, policies aiming at ‘enhancing parental effort might be effective in strengthening educational attainment’.

From my personal experience as an educator of so many years I have known this to be true. For us at Kangaroo Kids preschools and Billabong High International School, it is an adage that we have lived by – there is no substitute for parental involvement. Our curriculum framework in fact is uniquely designed in such a way so as to encourage parental interaction and involvement.  This typically happens across these three stages –

  • The school engages students and parents in creating a collaborative culture based on a shared vision shared responsibility and a sense of belonging.
  • Opportunities are provided for parents to learn about the schools educational aims, programmes, and pedagogical approaches so that they can support student learning.
  • The school creates student learning opportunities by effectively using the skills of its own community members and by building partnerships with external agencies such as local businesses and professional organizations.

It is keeping this above framework in mind that we gave a further impetus to the entire parent-child-teacher methodology and launched ‘Empowered Strategies’, a unique parent-teacher-student workshop held every week, taking the parent-orientation sessions a step further in Billabong High International School, Santacruz. Every week, Tuesday – Thursday, we hold such workshops per grade from Primary to Secondary, covering per level each week.  Teachers moderate the session with parents forming random groups with students and understanding a particular topic in a particular subject. Parents hence get to know first hand the way curriculum is introduced to the student. We have begun with subjects Business Management for grade 9, Mathematics, English and EVS for grade 2, 6 and 7. Going forward, we plan to involve parents to conduct and moderate the workshops.

The initial response to the workshops have been overwhelmingly positive though we have staggered through some due to time constraint on the part of parents but we hope to get there when parents, students and teachers are on the same page. We have already gotten to learn remarkable perspectives of both the students as well as the parents. For instance, parents have asked us to open it across levels of pedagogy from methodology, learning styles and tips strategies on multiple intelligences. We working around a way with the timings so that working parents can also attend and contribute.  What matters is that we have begun a journey now we need to make it a successful one too!

All said and done, however, would like to conclude with a disclaimer – that as with everything else, there needs to be a fine balance in terms of limit of parental involvement so that it doesn’t transgress to over-involvement. Doing a child’s homework, obsessively manoeuvring their free time, over-involvement in home assignments etc. will only hamper a child’s true progress.  Ultimately, loving a child is always about doing what’s best for them and not that which might feel convenient for us.


About Author :


 Kusum Kanwar is an eminent educationist with over 2 decades of hands-on experience in the K-12 education sector, having played a crucial role in establishing some of the most acclaimed K-12 international schools in Mumbai. Kusum firmly believes thatthe starting point of learning emanates from a positive ethos, a climate of respect and trust based upon shared values across school stakeholders – parents, teachers and students. She firmly believes in empowering children and youth to be active participants in community building from the earliest stages.


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