Through the Home-School Partnership Programme parents have the opportunity to share knowledge and ideas about supporting their children’s early learning. The programme builds co-operation between families and schools, and encourages parents in their role as their children’s first teachers. Wordworks trains and mentors teachers to reach out to parents and caregivers of children aged 5 to 8 years. The teachers then offer up their own time to work with groups of committed parents over eight weeks. The workshops run for 2½ hours a week and parents who attend five or more sessions receive a certificate at a graduation ceremony. Parents receive resources at each session to support learning at home. The resources include a course workbook, crayons and a drawing book, scissors, board and card games and a book. Parents, teachers and children benefit from this programme. Parents gain a renewed sense of the important role they play in their children’s learning. They learn practical ways to support their children’s early language and literacy and build their confidence: “The classes were exciting – the reading, conversations, the how, what and why… My daughter talks so much more now. She shows much more interest in reading. Also the class gave me more confidence, more patience. It starts at the crèche, where my son is. I am going to share with them what we do”.
Teachers build their empathy and respect for parents, and see the importance of collaborating with families in the interests of children’s early learning: “This year 15 parents came and 15 graduated – mostly grandmothers - even though they had to walk through very violent areas. We didn’t see it as another job. We want to empower our parents to empower our learners. Parents see that they have a voice”.
Children become more confident and focused, engage more actively in class and, improve their language and literacy skills.
- “His vocabulary has improved; he is using more words to build sentences. His reading is improving steadily and his drawings are more detailed”.
- “There is a big improvement. She likes to read, volunteers to read in a group. She is really interested in her work, even her writing has improved - I am very impressed!”
- “She has suddenly blossomed in all areas of learning and doesn’t fade into the class anymore but works with confidence”.