At Kandal, we are committed to strengthening our family partnerships in our school community. It’s no secret the more parents are involved in their children’s lives, both at home and school, the more they will be in the ‘know’ about how best to support their children. To this end, our kindergarten and grade 1 teachers and our English Language Learners (ELL) teachers initiated the “Parents as Partners” program.
A significant number of our students are learning English as a second language, and most of our parents are immigrants who did not attend school in Canada. Therefore, our Western school system is a foreign concept to most of our parents. With our Parents as Partners program, we invite parents (or guardians) into their child’s classroom twice a month for the first hour of the school day. Here, our kindergarten and grade 1 teachers share with parents the routines of their classrooms and how best to support their children. Some of the activities parents are exposed to include read-alouds, colouring, painting, songs, and outdoor walks in our forest. Parents are shown the type of books which are appropriate for these age levels and how best to read with children in a comfortable environment. Our Punjabi-speaking ELL teachers can translate for the classroom teachers. Because parents appreciate the warm welcoming atmosphere created by our staff, we find that almost all of the parents are involved in most of these sessions.
We were able to begin the year by sharing with our parents what support they can expect their children to receive if they are in our ELL program. From here, we answer any generic school-related questions parents may have, such as how to acquire school supplies and the student school dress code. In addition, parents are exposed to technology and how to be diligent when supervising young children while accessing the digital world at home.
With all this information, our parents feel they better understand what their children experience at school and how best to be involved in a supportive role. They have met the classroom and ELL teacher on many occasions and are comfortable contacting them. Parents are so excited to see their kiddos at school, as are the staff and students seeing the parents in our classrooms!
BALJIT SEKHON, PRINCIPAL
Dave Kandal Elementary