Reaching Out: Parents’/Caregivers’ Engagement, Education and Well-Being
A review of over 100 parent and family intervention studies underlines what we have long known, namely that parents/families and educators are both essential for children’s academic and social outcomes in school (Carlson and Christenson 2005). Parents’/Caregivers’ dynamic relationship with the school has long been recognized as a key factor in their children’s education (e.g. Hattie 2009; El Nokali et al. 2010; Jeynes 2007; Fan and Chen 2001). There has been relatively less attention in educational research, however, to the impact of home–school collaboration on children’s well-being and mental health, and to the parents’ own social and emotional competence and well-being in relation to education. In its report on social and emotional well-being in primary schools, theNational Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice 2008), suggests that one of the areas for further research is the identification of the most effective ways to involve parents/caregivers in primary school programmes to improve children’s emotional and social well-being. This has gained particular significance with the introduction of social and emotional education (SEE) in schools in the past decades, and the realization that the home–school collaboration not only ensures parents’ own collaboration in facilitating the school’s goals for SEE, but also addresses parents’ own education, well-being and resilience, which in turn impacts their children’s social and emotional development (Weare and Nind 2011; Greenberg 2010; Humphrey et al. 2010; Downey and Williams 2010). Through such collaboration parents would develop positive attitudes towards SEE, dispelling fears about mental health stigmatization, and concerns about ‘wasting’ time on SEE at the expense of academic learning. They would also support the school’s efforts in SEE by reinforcing and teaching the competencies being taught in school. They would also develop their own social and emotional skills in the process, and consequently their parenting skills.