Epstein's Six Types of Parent Involvement

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Dr. Joyce L. Epstein, the director of the National Network of Partnership Schools, which is connected with Johns Hopkins University, established the Six Types of Involvement, of which Parenting is the first type. The framework enables educators to develop effective programs designed to bring school, family and community together in a positive manner. Using the structure as a guide, according to Epstein, is the key to educating students and supporting families.

Parenting Support

According to Epstein's Six Types of Involvement, schools can offer support and assistance to parents to ensure that parents can create positive home environments that enable students to thrive and grow as students. For example, some parents need educational support to meet basic learning goals such as earning a GED or a high school diploma. Educators can also encourage parents to promote family literacy by spending time reading with children and setting a positive example of reading, which often inspires a love of reading in children. Assisting parents to build a strong home environment helps students develop respect for parents and positive personal values.

Facilitating Communication

Two-way communication between the school and the home is vital to student success. Schools should encourage parents to attend at least one parent-teacher conference during the school year, according to Epstein's Six Types of Involvement. Teachers and support staff should communicate regularly with parents about students via email, telephone, class letters and newsletters. Parents also need the opportunity to communicate concerns and issues with educators. Any families with language barriers should have translation assistance. Effective communication ensures that everyone understands school policies and decisions.

Encourage Volunteerism

Involving parents in children’s education typically has positive results. Teachers might solicit parent volunteers to help in the classroom with special projects, class field trips or other supportive roles. Parents can be a gold mine of talents and skills, which can help educators significantly in the process of teaching youngsters. If educators poll parents at the beginning of the school year to learn knowledge and abilities, as well as availability, everyone can benefit from parental volunteerism. Bringing parents into the school environment helps students learn how to communicate with adults and may give students more one-on-one attention.

Foster Home Learning

Students need a positive environment for home learning. Educators can help parents learn how to supervise homework, set up an effective place for students to work, communicate expectations for homework and support kids as they work on school work at home. Students often develop a more positive attitude about homework and improve test scores with an effective home learning environment.

Involve Parents in Decisions

Parents involved in school decisions and activities can play a vital role in achieving goals that help students. Parent organizations spearhead fundraisers that benefit the school and the students. Parental committees can be instrumental in school improvements that revitalize and focus energy on students. This type of parental involvement helps students to benefit by seeing a parental role in school decision-making and helps parents to advocate more effectively for student benefits.

Community Activities

Using Epstein's framework of Six Types of Involvement, schools can work cooperatively with communities for activities that strengthen and develop strong students. Recreational, cultural and athletic programs can provide important opportunities for students. Schools can promote and endorse these community activities to show parents the value and importance of these programs. Students receive expanded exposure to different experiences and opportunities, which could assist with choices in future education and careers.