Getting parents more involved with schools

Ms Christina Tan, 45, a parent of three girls at St. Anthony's Canossian Primary School, welcomed the call for a stronger partnership between parents and the schools.
Ms Christina Tan, 45, a parent of three girls at St. Anthony's Canossian Primary School, welcomed the call for a stronger partnership between parents and the schools. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Housewife Abdoul Rahime Mahabouby started volunteering at East View Primary School as a "recess mum", helping lower primary pupils to get their meals during the break between lessons.

The 42-year-old, who has three children aged between nine and 13, became a parent volunteer in 2009 as she wanted to be more involved in her children's school lives.

Her older son, a Secondary 1 student at Montfort Secondary, was then a Primary 1 pupil at East View Primary. Her second son, 12, is now a Primary 6 pupil there.

Now, as chairman of the school's Parent Support Group, she organises programmes to engage parents. She said: "I wanted to know what is happening in the school, to interact with the teachers and pupils, and to learn along with my children."

She is also in the parent support groups at Montfort Secondary and St Hilda's Primary School, where her nine-year-old daughter is a Primary 3 pupil.

LEARNING WITH HER CHILDREN

I wanted to know what is happening in the school, to interact with the teachers and pupils, and to learn along with my children.

HOUSEWIFE ABDOUL RAHIME MAHABOUBY, on why she is in the parent support groups of her three children's schools

At the Ministry of Education's (MOE) work plan seminar yesterday, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat highlighted the work of such volunteers, and also encouraged parents to be involved in their child's education and school lives.

Recognising that supportive parents can complement the teachers' efforts in helping students, Mr Heng unveiled several initiatives to strengthen the partnership between parents and the schools.

These include resources, from guidelines to planning materials, that teachers can use to engage parents more effectively. Schools will receive these in November.

For instance, a set of scenario-based role-playing cards, designed to help teachers better understand students' needs and parents' concerns, will be introduced.

There will also be resources for parents to tap to support their children's education journey.

  • MOE to look into alleged bullying case

  • The Ministry of Education (MOE) will be looking into a case of alleged bullying at Shuqun Secondary School, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.

    He was responding to questions about the incident on the sidelines of MOE's work plan seminar.

    A clip of the incident, which happened last Friday, shows a male student from the school hitting two others on their heads repeatedly. Both victims kept their heads bowed and did not retaliate.

    The Straits Times understands that the mother of one of the victims has made a police report.

Parents of children starting Primary 1 next year will get an activity book in November, to help their children make the transition from pre-school to primary school. It has tips and activities to help parents familiarise themselves with routines in primary schools, such as ordering canteen food.

For parents of children at the upper primary and lower secondary levels, MOE will enhance the Education and Career Guidance (ECG) guide to equip them with information on the education and career pathways available. The guide will be distributed from next month.

These resources will complement the work of ECG counsellors, who will work with teachers to engage parents.

The first 50 ECG counsellors will be deployed to schools, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education by next month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2015, with the headline 'Getting parents more involved with schools'. Print Edition | Subscribe