Six Types of Parental Engagement
Joyce L. Epstein, Ph.D., is the Director of the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships and Professor of Education at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education.
Dr. Epstein has outlined 6 Types of Parental Involvement to guide educators in developing compelling and comprehensive school and family partnership programs.
- Parenting: Help all families establish home environments to support children as students.
Mulberry offers parent educational opportunities via our six-week, one-night-per-week Parent Aide Training for elementary grades and positive discipline monthly meetings for preschool. We also provide parents and caregivers with shared resources, articles, and outside training as well as home visits and Zoom meetings between home and school.
- Communicating: Design effective forms of school-to-home and home-to-school communications about school programs and students’ progress.
Mulberry teachers are available to schedule and meet with parents on an ongoing basis. Open and continued communication is valued and creates an invaluable bond between teachers, parents, and students. Weekly newsletters highlight the learning, activities, and social-emotional growth of each child.
- Volunteering: Recruit and organize parent help and support.
Each classroom at Mulberry School has a class representative who serves as a liaison between parents and teachers. This valuable volunteer organizes additional parent participation, partners with classroom teachers, and engages in community building.
- Learning at Home: Provide information and ideas to families about how to help students at home with homework and other curriculum-related activities, decisions, and planning.
Various areas of Mulberry’s curriculum lend themselves to a “letter home,” outlining the specific content and processes currently offered in the classroom. Google Classroom is a terrific tool for upper-grade students working on writing or other individual or team projects, where teachers can weigh in and guide in an ongoing approach that blends coaching and assessing.
- Decision-making: Include families as participants in school decisions and develop parent leaders and representatives
Mulberry’s Preschool Director has modeled the use of parent surveys for a variety of topics from the use of masks to holiday celebrations. This survey process has become an ongoing “communication” between the preschool parent body and preschool educators. Parents are called on to review communications and celebrations, and for many years, they participated in an annual survey, which Mulberry plans to relaunch in 2023.
- Community Collaboration: Coordinate resources and services from the community for families, students, and the school, and provide services to the community.
At the classroom level, parents fill out participation forms, which list opportunities to share resources, special interests and expertise, and services they provide. Being a small community, parents also often volunteer directly with Mulberry administration and teachers. Mulberry is considering a return to publishing a school-wide directory as an added resource and benefit.
This engagement model recognizes the indispensable role of parents in the home and the academic environment. At Mulberry, we are always striving to enhance the invaluable resources our parents provide our educators, students, and community.
Learn more about Parent Participation
“Parent Participation has been an integral part of Mulberry for over 55 years. Our parents and families bring such gifts to our community.”
– Jane Murphy, Former Assistant Head of School –