Engage parents in developing exciting learning experiences

Every parent has something to teach or share, in working together with teachers on developing programs you build relations and trust.

Photo of Iris Goedhart
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As a parent we trust our children to have a safe, engaging and cheerful day at school when we rush through traffic to drop them off before heading to that meeting downtown. We feel secure that our children are taken good care of, that they stretch their learning and enjoying every part of it. During the day you can fully commit to your work. But what do we really need to stay connected to our children’s learning and school experience to ensure their safety and environment to learn? Our teachers. What do teachers need to develop children to their full potential? Parents and caretakers. What is it that they build their relationship upon? Not technology to keep updates. Not visionary end goals and stunning results. We need eachother, we need to work together. And what are the basics of working together? Really understand eachother by really working together on a (part of a) program. From the getgo. 

For this idea we want to codesign a module (for a day) based on the parents talent, the childs development and the teachers needs. We need the expertise and experience of the teacher in what works, we need the experience and passion of the parent to develop a learning experience for a day. By codesigning we build trust and engagement and a support system for - as we now experience in the Netherlands a scarsity on teacher staff as a result of the flu epidemic. In the end we will have parents empowered with programs for a day (in being teacher for one day), we have schools with a plan and a network to ensure every child the right to school even when half of staff is sick (or in need for a training) and most of all we ensured that raising a child is no longer the duty of a school but the community and by doing so, we really build relationships and trust. 

Share research or student experiences that informed your idea!

The emergency call from several schools in flu season warning for extra days off

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Photo of Iris Goedhart
Team

We had our first run last week. The schools and the teachers-for-a-day are energized by the results and mostly in working together. They even had some practical feedback. We face two challenges for the upcpming weeks. 1. How do we design and develop a platform that engages en inspires face-to-face collaboration 2. How do we scale this concept from a select group of frontrunners to more teachers-for-a-day and other schools? Keeping it close enough to have the ‘this is my community’ feel. We’ll be posting our findings later on. If you have any questions or critical feedback we can take with us in developing the next steps, that would also be great!

Photo of Lusmaia Diaz
Team

I love this so much! Thank you for sharing and all of the details!

Photo of Theresa Shadrix
Team

Iris Goedhart This idea is very similar to one that I helped create in Alabama called Classroom CEO. We matched business experts with classroom teachers in order to deliver content to students. What I find inspiring from your idea is using the expertise of parents. Where are you in the planning stages of creating the module? How might I help you in your planning?

Photo of Iris Goedhart
Team

Thank you Theresa Shadrix for your comment. Where can I find more on your project? I would love to learn from your experiences. We want to bring teaching even closer to the community. I’ve done several education-business programs and they where great in bridging the gap between our education system and the labour market. This approach is to bring back the community around raising a child. And therefor open up the collaboration and communication. We are starting our second round of testing in a week. We’ve already had some cool experiences with our early adapting community members and teachers. Now for a second test with a bigger group and a call for teachers-for-a-day. Next step would be to evaluate the call and the needs of the parents and teachers. It would be great if you could help with your feedback on our second test results and your insights on how to make this even bigger if it is a succes.

Photo of Theresa Shadrix
Team

Iris Goedhart We worked with our local Chamber of Commerce to help find business leaders we could work with. We found success when the teacher and business leader were matched for an entire school year. The teacher and business leader planned monthly lessons built around employability skills. This enabled the teachers, business leaders, and students to build relationships and strengthen the skills of the students and the classroom environment. If you don't have a business organization in your area, could you possibly have an advisory team to help organize business leaders? Where are you in the process right now? Feel free to connect with me on Twitter @theresashadrix.

Photo of Tiffanie Harrison
Team

I love this idea so much! Who knows students better than their parents? I always send out a questionnaire at the beginning of the year that has homework for parents because I want to know what they see in their students. What they know are their biggest strengths and how I can be their advocate and support in areas where they tend to struggle. I had never thought about taking it a step further to have parents co-create learning experiences that would be good for their students.

I wonder what this might look like in the planning phase? Do you have parents that are ready to go at a moment's notice? Or would we schedule them to come in on some sort of calendar? Love this so much Iris Goedhart !

Photo of Iris Goedhart
Team

Thank you @Tiffanie Harrison! We started a really small pilot with just a couple of parents and teachers. In a week we start a second pilot with a Foundation that operates 15 K-12 schools in our local muncipality. This is part of a flu season emergency plan. Parent teachers were asked to reply to a simple email with some questions on their experience, need to co facilitate a group and there availability. And if they are able to come in at a moment’s notice. We have someone ready to call everybody they need to make sure no child has to go home. This is great for a start, there’s a lot of energy. But in the long run we need to work out a concept that is low in administrative tasks or overhead, supports communication between schools and their community and have a treasure chest of talented parents they can contact to help make learning a cool adventure for our children.

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Iris,
Thanks for the post. I agree that working together (parents, teachers, and students) allows for a stronger connection and better understanding. I love how you are utilizing parents during a teacher shortage--what a great way to acknowledge that parents have a role in schools and have valuable expertise.

Photo of Iris Goedhart
Team

Thank you Jessica Lura for your comment! This strengthens our team spirit!

Photo of Nidhi
Team

Wow I love this! Have you had success in engaging all parents for this type of activity? What are some ways that you are able to motivate and encourage parents to participate this way? Iris Goedhart 

Photo of Iris Goedhart
Team

Thank you for your comment Nidhi 
We already had succes with a basic concept of this project. There are parents who believe they can contribute to the growth of a future generation. And there are parents just wanting to help a school during flu season. So we tap in to their community awareness and the fun and rewarding flow of teaching for a day or two;). We still need to work out a way to make it bigger without the fuss and negativity of building a framework or other contraining structures. That would be our next step.