Parents As Co-Educators

parents co-educatorsOne of the desired goals of Eastbridge School is to instill the idea on the parents that the education of their kids are not the sole responsibility of the school. Being in the academe for twenty years now, the administrators of the school deem that this is a necessary element  for a successful learning experience especially in the preschool level. For what is education if not the preparation for life? A person who is trained to only prepare for work in adulthood has only prepared for half of what life is all about.  Others may even argue that most of life is interaction with other people. For isn't work even also mostly comprised of this? Thus, it is of the utmost importance that the training that the kids get in a learning institution must touch on this major element.
At the start of each year, Eastbridge holds a Parents Orientation Day so that we can relay to them this very idea. Unless and until this is put into heart by every parent, the school performance of the child almost always suffers. We have seen this happen over and over again. But the good thing is it can be avoided. On this same orientation day, we also discuss various policies that pertain to the very core of our mission which is to give the best learning environment and so to optimize the development of each child. There may be cases where during the duration of the school year, some of these policies may be relaxed, tightened, modified or altogether scrapped for the best interest of the students. There is a possibility that some of the policies may appear to be prohibitive of the convenience or preference of the parents. But when it comes to this thing, the learning need  of the students play the highest priiority. There will be attempts to address both issues as much as possible but in cases where only one can be achieved at a time, the students' welfare will be considered first. As co-educators, parents are expected to understand and support such policies.
Adults and children are similar in many aspects of learning. They both learn better in an atmosphere of respect where one is free to express one's ideas without fear of being  judged. Additionally, both tend to learn bettter in an environment where authority is properly established and respected. In a classroom setting, the authority  emanates from only one source: the teacher. No wonder teachers are always reminded to be wary about showing favoritism, unfairness, lack of concern, and lack of competence. He or she earns or loses respect. depending on how he or she properly observes his or her conduct in these areas. His or her effectiveness therefore hangs on the balance of respect that he or she earns from his or her students. Parents need to recognize this too and should do everything in their power to reinforce that respect. All and any unnecessary comments, actions, or attitudes that  tend to compromise this should be avoided, especially in the pressence of the kids. For how can a child respect a teacher that his or her parent has no respect for? At worst, it confuses the child and makes his or her attitude towards learning from that teacher suspicious. Somebody said that  children are like papparazzis - they tend to take pictures of the things that you don't want them to take. Thus, as co-educators, parents are advised to be doubly careful of the scenes that they create in the hearing and in the eyes of the child. Special care must be given to words and actions, even attitudes in public but especially so in private. For just when our guards are down and we pretty much act "normally" confortably thinking that nobody's watching our less pleasant and less flattering selves, that's the time whern the child recorders may just be whirring away, saving for good all the undesirable facts on display.
Another important aspect of the co-educator role of the parents is in the area of community service. Since students are not exposed at all to community work or involvement while in school, special programs are created so that  this area is not neglected. At Eastbridge, we organize parents to help the school promote community outreach which will inevitably involve the kids also. In the classrooms, children are encouraged to drop coins in the class piggy bank which is opened during the actual community outreach day. The kids get to present this monitary gift plus other items to the recipient NGO representative. Participation of the parents therefore greatly reinforces the gesture.
While it is  a given that parents are co-educators in the sense that they help in the academic work of their kids on assignments, projects, reports and the like, this role extends far more into the intangible parts of the their kids education. And none of these intangibles can be more important than in becoming positive role models of cooperation, respect, and charitable concern. We will continue to work and pray that our parents will be one with us always in striving for a culture of academic excellence with visible Christian virtues because in is in the achievement of this that the school's vision is anchored upon.