Get involved at school

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Getting involved at school helps your child, and builds your relationship with the teachers.

Help your child settle in

Some schools are very open to parents and carers staying with their children while they settle in at school. Some schools are less open to this. But don’t be afraid to ask, if it would help your child.

When each of Uncle Henry’s girls started school, he would come in and stay with them for a couple of hours at the beginning of each day, to help them settle in. This also helped him get to know the girls’ teachers and all the staff. It helped them to build a relationship and stay in touch throughout the year.

Rodney and Suzanna have always spent time helping their younger son settle in at school. Suzanna even went on the school bus with her son, until he got used to it.

Get involved in the school

Aunty Faye has reared up many children, and has also been a Koorie education worker for many years. She says that if a child is having a hard time at school, it can help if the parent or carer helps out in class for a bit. It gives you a chance to see what’s going on, and to talk to the teacher or the aide.

Some parents or carers might want to start by just observing a class, maybe even to suss out if it’s the right place for their child. Many fathers who are culturally strong will let the mother take on the role, as it’s seen as women’s business. Dads tend to engage more after they feel comfortable being in the classroom, and know that their child is being seen as equal, as was the case for Rodney.

Rodney and Suzanna chose a school for their young son with many Aboriginal students, especially after their older boy experienced a lot of racism at school. Even so, at first they felt like some parents made assumptions about them.

Build a relationship with school in different ways

Sometimes, parents and carers might not be able to come along to events and meetings at school. This can happen for lots of different reasons. Sometimes, schools might think it means that families are not interested in their children’s education.

If you find it hard to get along to school events and meetings, it can be helpful to let the school know, and maybe suggest other ways that you might be able to keep in touch.

There are many ways of building a relationship with the school. In many communities, families and school staff might have contact through their local community. Families might see their child’s teachers in the town, or at sporting events. It’s good to acknowledge people in these situations, as it helps build better rapport and relationships between the teachers, the child and their family members.