Parent Engagement – for Parents

As parents, we are the first educators of our children.

We know from our own experiences, which are confirmed by research, that being involved or taking an active interest in our child’s education helps improve their learning, lifts their self-esteem and instils in them a positive attitude towards school.

The Parents Network has collated a wide range of research about the benefits of being engaged or involved in your child’s schooling as well as advice on how you can put this theory into practise as a parent. Every family is different. So it’s important that you take away what works for you, your child and your family’s circumstances.

What is parent engagement?

Parent engagement is about positively supporting your child’s learning at school. Parents who are interested in what their child is doing in class, who reinforce and connect what they’re learning inside the school gate to their home life, and who value the importance of education, can have a profound influence on their child’s achievements and social and emotional well-being.

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The Australian and Queensland Governments have identified parent engagement as a key area of focus and have created a range of resources to help parents understand and identify how they can have a positive impact on their child’s learning at school.

The Australian Government has commissioned the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) to conduct a four-year research program into parent engagement which will identify the most beneficial actions parents can take to support and improve their child’s learning.

Parents who are interested in learning more about parent engagement can join the Australian Parent Engagement Network – an online forum that provides access to research, resources, practical tips and the opportunity to contribute to ARACY’s national Parent Engagement Project.

Research from ARACY

A new research report by ARACY reveals the very real challenges families experiencing social and financial disadvantage face in trying to support their child’s education. The report, Researching Parent Engagement, a report prepared for ARACY by the Centre for Educational Research at Western Sydney University (WSU), found that survival and attending to basic needs was the top priority for parents. This reduced the time they had “to create an environment of learning”. The research contends that valuing family-led learning and drawing on the support of community organisations could help schools find a clearer path to enhancing parent engagement. Link to report.

Resources for parents

The Australian Government | Learning Potential website

An engaging website with practical ideas and activities to help parents support their child’s learning at home. The information is based on what children are learning in primary school through the Australian Curriculum. Learn more <<<

Queensland Government| Making the early years count 

Young children’s brains are developing at a rapid rate, building the foundations for all future learning later in life. Providing a supportive and caring environment with everyday learning opportunities makes the early years count. Learn more <<<

Queensland Education Department | Transition to school: information for families

A positive start to school will help your child develop a lifelong love of learning. But a successful transition to school is more than a great first day. It’s your child feeling welcome, safe and confident in their new school environment. Learn more <<<

ACT Government | Parental engagement

When families and schools work together, children are more likely to build good relationships and do better at school. There are simple things you can do at home, and with your child’s school, to help your child to do their best. See links below <<<

  • Family-led learning: engaging the whole family | Link
  • Communicating with your child’s school | Link
  • What you can do at home: parental engagement in early childhood | Link
  • What you can do at home: parental engagement in primary school | Link

Raising Children Network | School-age creative learning and development: ideas and activities

Creative play and imaginative arts experiences play a central role in school-age children’s learning and development. Parents can encourage their children’s creativity with free-flowing creative activities and by getting involved in their play. Learn more <<<

NSW Education Department | School A to Z: practical help for parents

Wealth of articles and advice for parents on how to support their children at school, from helping children with phonics, to understanding the pressures they’ll face in the senior years of school. Learn more <<<

People for Education | Engaging parents to help their children succeed at school

Research confirms four key things that parents can do to help ensure their children’s success. Learn more <<<

Federal Department of Education and Training | Parental engagement: improving outcomes for students with disability

Advice for parents who have a child with a disability on how to engage with schools about their child’s education needs and how to work in partnership to support them. Learn more <<<

Further resources

  • Queensland Department of Education and Training | Link
  • Australian Department of Education and Training | Link
  • Queensland College of Teachers: Working with Parents to Support Students | Link
  • Family-School and Community Partnerships Bureau | Link
  • Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth  | Link
  • Children and Families Research Centre | Link
  • Parenting Research Centre | Link
  • Australian Parents Council | Link
  • Youth Connect – Parents as Career Transition Support | Link
  • Global Family Research Project | Link
  • What Works. The Work Program – Improving Outcomes for Indigenous Children | Link
  • Kids Matter | Link