For over a decade, parental involvement has been an important strategy in enhancing children’s education. Enhancing the involvement of the parents in the schools and at home is an essential aspect in the improvement of the educational chances of the children. There are more calls to enhance and integrate the school’s activities with the parents and the local communities. The types of parental involvement and participation vary depending on the educational system the children are undertaking. Parental participation in school activities and educational partnerships are some of the approaches used to enhance parental involvement. The partnership is a word used to explain the parents’ meaningful engagement in the children’s educational activities. The relationship and partnership between the parents, children, and teachers are enhanced through mutual support and other contributions that facilitate learning, motivation, and development. According to the theory coined by Joyce Epstein, there are overlapping spheres of influence. The theory combines psychological, educational, and sociological perspectives in the description of the relationship between the parents, schools, and the local environments. This helps distinguish between the social institutions that influence education and children’s socialization in the school, family, and the community. Therefore, parental involvement is assumedimportant in enhancing children’s development to reach communication and cooperating capacities.
Parents and teachers are partners on their own, and they have shared responsibilities of ensuring the children develop and grow effectively. This means that the parents must collaborate with teachers in aspects such as homework assistance and making a conducive environment for the children to learn at home. Parental involvement in children’s education brings positive social functioning. This is because it helps to improve the behaviours, motivation, and social competence in relationship building between the teachers and the other students in school. According to Đurišić and Bunijevac, parental involvement influences the students’ behaviors and helps them have a positive attitude towards schools(2017). However, it varies depending on the approach used. Montessori and Early Years Foundation Stage are two models of education that approach parental involvement differently but advocate for involvement in children’s education. However, with COVID-19, the role of the parents and the teachers has changed. This means that it is important to research and understand the impact of the pandemic on parental involvement and the education of their children.
Significance of the Study
According to Boonk et al., the participation of parents in the educational process means that the teachers and the parents share the responsibility of teaching the children together in achieving the educational goals (2018). However, there is no prioritization in achieving the parents’ goals in their children’s education. According to Hornby and Blackwell, since 2016,parental involvement has declined (2018). This is because they feel a breakdown in their communication with the teachers and hence prefer other communication models of texts, emails, and social networks. This is instead holding face-to-face briefings with the teachers that provide more information on the children and their school performance. The decline in parental participation and involvement in briefings of their children shows a decline in parental support and time availability. According to Fernández Alonso et al., parental involvement in their children’s education is connected to academic performance (2017). When there is an early establishment of the relationship between the parent and the child’s education system, there is a more robust foundation in their success.
This study seeks to understand the aspects of parental involvement in the Montessori and the FYFS education models. This is because there are benefits associated with parental participation in their student’s learning. The good communication that is established between the teachers and the parents helps to improve children’s absenteeism. This is because the parents will be committed to helping the teacher educate the child. Such participation also results in an improvement in academic performance. According to Park et al., fluency and comprehension in students improve when their parents are actively engaged in their education (2017). The parents also help improve their children’sbehaviours. Therefore, parental involvement is an aspect that affects the students at all levels of their education. It helps to improve the teacher’s performance because they can solve the problems facing the child collectively.
Montessori Educational Model
History of Montessori Learning
The Montessori educational model was developed and designed by Maria Montessori in the 1900s. She invented a methodology that was meant to work well for children living with disabilities. She started her children’s house and took in children between four to seven years. Her approach became popular in Italy and later spread to the United States before reaching Europe and India. The ideas developed by Maria Montessori were deemed to be too radical until the 1950s, when they were revived in United States (Nisa et al., 2019). The main goal of the Montessori educational model is to aid in children learning by helping them develop and adapt to the physical conditions of the environment and the social requirements dictated by the community in which they live. The theories of child development as per the Montessori learning are different and have been used to inform the other educational theories. The education model features a developing child who is involved in constructing their learning experience. Therefore, the teacher creates a supportive and child-centered environment.
Aims of Montessori Educational Model
The Montessori model emphasizes child well-being and development. According to Walls, Maria Montessori believed that a child deserves to have a whole development and that their learning should include the growth of mind and heart through classroom experiences (2018). Therefore, according to the founder, the goal of this learning model is to use teaching as a way of assisting the psychological development of the child. This requires rational and spiritual support. According to Murray et al., every Montessori educational model is designed to care for the soul and instill the concepts of calmness, compassion, courage, and creativity in a child (2021). This is because Maria Montessori believed in a child’s value based on their interests and skills. She believed that this approach was important in the early childhood stage as a preparation for the later stages of life and a benefit to the effective development of the child. This is because early childhood is when the children are sensitive in their growth and are eager to learn and master certain skills.
According to Denervaud et al., the teachers in the Montessori educational model are a guide and are supposed to act as per the interests of the child (2020). This is because the teacher is an unobtrusive director who watches over the children as they engage in self-directed activities. In early childhood education, the teacher brings the child into reality with sensory investigation. Therefore, teacher management in the learning environment is meant to support children’s interests. According to Amini, the Montessori educational model’s interests and needs do not allow misbehaviour of the children in the learning environment (2017). Therefore, the teachers are meant to help the children overcome the problem and teach them how to correct the problematic behaviour. Therefore, this learning model is concerned with the holistic development of the child.
Parental Involvement in Montessori Educational Model
According to Fleming et al., the parents have the sole responsibility of choosing how their children will be nurtured and educated (2019). The parents have to ensure their children learn the best as per their learning environment and the chosen philosophy. The Montessori approach allows parental involvement in different aspects, including providing a supportive learning environment. However, the Montessori educational model can be defined as an attitude towards life as opposed to discipline. Therefore, parental involvement helps to foster their children’s development and progress. According to Yıldız et al., the parents are the observers and the caregivers (2020). However, they have to engage in a collaborative relationship with the schools and participate in different set activities such as community meetings. This helps to establish some groundwork for the role of the family in the learning of the child. It also helps to share in the children’s achievement and motivate them to keep on working and achieving more.
According to Van Laere et al., there are different approaches that the parents can use to get involved in the Montessori learning of their children (2018). The parents need to support the creativity and innovativeness depicted by the children at home and school. Montessori learning uses the environment as an important aspect in enhancing learning. Therefore, the parents need to have their homes equipped and developed to support continued learning after school. The parents need to share the children’s excitement in different areas by providing the play-and-learn materials as required in the Montessori approach. According to Goodall, the parents must maintain order and encourage the children to keep a clean and organized environment (2018). This ensures there is aspiration and motivation to keep the learning environment clean and effective for learning.
The parents in the Montessori educational model are supposed to guide the children. According to Walls, parental control hinders creativity and the ability of the children to grow and develop things that interest them (2018). Therefore, the parents are supposed to let the children engage in the activities they choose to help them build on self-confidence. In a study, Ali and Pa-alisbo found that letting the children work on their developed projects can enhance their practical skills development and hence make them capable of managing complicated tasks(2021). Therefore, parents continue with Montessori practices at home to reinforce the children’s experience. According to Yıldız et al., the parents support the outdoor activities to help the children connect with nature (2020). This helps to help them maintain high focus and attention while learning. This is because learning about nature helps the children develop a sense of wonder, which is impossible in other environments.
Early Years Foundation Stage
The EYFS is an effective model of education based on enhancing the experience of the children outside their homes. According to Wood, EYFS acknowledges that learning is a journey that collects a child’s information (2020). This educational model applies four principles that are important in the early development of the child. The child is unique, and hence they are constantly learning and can depict characteristics such as resilience, capability, confidence, and self-assurance. This is because as they learn, they identify their strengths and have an understanding of their environment. The second principle is that the children learn effectively in positive relationships. They learn to be strong and independent when they are in an environment that positively nurtures their learning. The children require having an enabling environment where they experiences respond to their needs. This works by having a strong relationship with the parents and the practitioners. The last principle is that children learn and develop differently and at different rates. Therefore, all children should be accommodated in the learning framework, including those with special needs and disabilities.
Parental Involvement in EYFS
According to Jeynes, the role of the parent is important in the learning of the child because they understand the needs and the interests (2018). Therefore, the practitioners collaborate with the parents to offer professional guidelines to the parents and establish the children’s strengths. Everybody makes their contribution to ensure the child learns and develops effectively. According to Li and Fischer, the four themes of the EYFS model emphasize the importance of the child and the relationships, experience, and the environment (2017). Therefore, parents are an important aspect of learning in this model. They work to ignite curiosity in children’s life and build relationships that foster development and learning.
According to Hamlin andFlessa, working in partnership with the parents is a part of EYFS (2018). The parents are involved in the learning of their children and the experiences that they have with the practitioners. This helps to continue the learning process at home after school. The parents are, therefore, encouraged to learn and understand their child every day for efficient support. According to Park and Holloway, support and parental involvement enhance trust, involvement, and shared expectation between the parent and the child (2017). The children at an early age grow to trust their parents as they are close to them. This means that in their school learning, they need the support of their parents to ensure they remain focused and eager to learn. This also helps the parent to understand how the child is coping outside the home environment. Therefore, with positive involvement, the parent can support the child’s mental, physical, and educational development.
Epstein Model and Parental Involvement in Children learning
Epstein carried out a study aimed at understanding the impact of parental involvement in their children’s education. The findings of this research are the six important factors that were determined that are enhanced through their participation in their learning.
Parenting includes all the activities that a parent needs to engage in to raise a happy child. The parent plays the most critical role in the life of a child as opposed to the teachers. This is because the parents have a lifelong commitment to their children. Therefore, engaging in activities that support child development in health, safety, and home conditions helps support learning (Ihmeideh et al., 2020). The children hold the parents as the role model. Therefore, their actions and participation in their learning activities are important.
Epstein’s model established that the communication between schools and the parents communicate in different ways. This includes written notes or online communication when communicating about important events and activities. The parents need to give the teachers the educational history and their health. However, it is important to enhance communication using other methods such as conferences (Ihmeideh et al., 2020). This will help understand the progress of the student in school and their need for further attention as they develop and grow in the academic dimensions.
Volunteering involves parental support in school programs and activities. The parents should engage with their children through participation in activities organized by the school. The parents can engage in the volunteering activities in three different ways. One of these is to volunteer as tutors to help the teacher and the administration learn their children. The second is to volunteer in fundraising and other events that promote the well-being of the school community (Ihmeideh et al., 2020). The third way is to be an audience in attending school programs and performances. This helps the parent participate in identifying children’s talents.
Learning at Home
Epstein explainedthat the parents need to be provided with the right information about how they can engage in their children learning at home. This includes engaging in homework supervision and curricular-related activities. The parents can get involved by taking the children for a nature walk or to a museum to enhance their learning in class. These activities produce school-oriented families as they interact with the school curriculum (Ihmeideh et al., 2020). The parents should also engage in activities that support learning at home, such as providing items that enhance what the children were doing in the classroom. This helps to monitor and discuss the schoolwork and participate in setting goals in children’s educational performance.
The parents are supposed to protect their children, including making decisions for them. Therefore, the school decisions on children’s education are supposed to be made by parents. This means that they have to become a part of the school governance committees or join organizations like parents associations. The parents can also be engaged in making school decisions, such as leadership roles (Ihmeideh et al., 2020). The aim is to ensure they remain informed of the learning environment and the activities of the children.
The children learn effectively when they are integrating with the community in which they are growing. Therefore, parental involvement in identifying and integrating community services and resources helps strengthen the schools, families, and students. Recreational and cultural programs are important in linking classroom learning and the talents of the students.
Factors Determining Parental Involvement in Children Learning
The parental cognition role has been identified as the main factor contributing to the willingness for parental support. According to Wang and Cai, three parental cognitions determine parental involvement and support in their children learning(2017). Parental aspirations are the idealistic goals they form for the future attainment of their children. The parents with high aspirations for their children and the future are more willing to be involved in different activities to ensure their aspirations and goals are met. According to Haskins and Jacobsen, educational and occupational aspirations contribute to the ways the parents shape the time, children learning activities, and the learning environment(2017). The second factor is parenting self-efficacy. This is the belief in organizing and executing the courses of actions that need to produce set attainments. According to Wong et al., individuals with self-efficacy in a given area exert more effort to enhance their performance (2018). They can persevere the difficulties and respond positively to difficult situations. Therefore, these people have less defeating thoughts and are less stressed about a given experience. Parenting self-efficacy is a powerful determinant of their behaviours and interactions with the children. High-efficacy parents are optimistic, authoritative, and consistent in their interactions with the children. The perceptions held about school determine how the parents are involved and participate in their children’s learning. This is because the teachers build the environment that enables the interactions and the engagement of the parents. Proper communication with the parents helps them be eager and ready to participate in different aspects of their children’s learning.
In conclusion, the Montessori and EYFS educational models both support parental involvement. Both models are focused on the child and the ability to learn. Montessori learning advocates for the child’s independence to ensure they learn voluntarily and as per their interests. On the other hand, the EYFS model understands the child has different capabilities. It is necessary to enhance their learning as per their strengths. However, parental involvement plays an important role in the learning of the child. Through approaches such as conferences and support, a positive learning environment at home helps the children continue learning after they stopped in school. Therefore, parents have a role to play in enhancing the child’s success in both the Montessori and the EYFS models.
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