Non Dominant families have rarely had the opportunity to build strong school-home relationships. This has everything to do with systemic racism and the lack of trust when it comes to the unique expertise of each parent regarding their children. Thankfully, family engagement is here to change that.
The COVID-19 pandemic, as challenging as it was, has managed to achieve the impossible. Parents have had the rare chance to join their children on their academic journeys and watch their interactions with both their educators and peers.
The pandemic has been an unexpected equalizer, as it has managed to dismantle centuries of racial, linguistic, and class-based judgments that stem from educational inequity. Nondominant families are slowly being acknowledged as valuable partners of the schools.
However, how are we going to maintain this temporary interest in parental engagement alive and well for decades to come? In this article, we’ll explore the 4 ways in which schools can aim to improve their current school-home dynamics. Read on to find out more!
Acknowledging the Importance of Family Engagement Activities
According to the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement, family engagement is a responsibility that is shared by schools and various organizations. Their collective effort is to reach out and engage the children’s families in such a way that both the children’s learning and development end up being positively impacted.
The purpose of family engagement activities is to bring a far more liberatory, culturally affirming perspective on the school-home relationship. Educational inequity is largely reinforced by the lack of meaningful parental engagement.
Educators and families must become partners. Their relationship should be based on equality and recognition. They should consistently collaborate via a codesign model of partnership. The families’ wisdom, experience, and cultural knowledge should be valued rather than ignored.
Unfortunately, systemic racism has affected the way in which parents of color are being perceived. Discrimination, either conscious or subconscious, impacts countless families throughout our nation.
By participating in meaningful, culturally respectful family engagement activities, we could maintain the positive change brought forth by the pandemic. The gap between the home and school can only be bridged by acknowledging just how effective parental engagement can be.
Seeking After-School Programs That Reinforce the Importance of Family Engagement
Most after-school activities make it their mission to help our young ones keep up with their homework and stay safe after the schooling hours are over. This is most definitely not enough to nurture all the different facets and needs of a child.
That is why we highly encourage you to look into culturally affirming and respectful after-school programs. Here are the main attributes that all great after-school programs have in common:
- They offer family engagement activities – This is one of the best after-school activities that a child could pursue throughout their K-12 years. Connected children, adults, and institutions have the power to undo educational inequity.
- They support the life of the whole-child – Our youth necessitates youth and family services and programming in order to step out confidently into the world. Their entire academic journey depends on this, as well as their chances of getting into their desired colleges.
- They celebrate African culture – It should come as no surprise that African culture is extraordinarily rich and vibrant. The history of our people is worth sharing with the younger generations. The current curriculum fails our children more than anything. It is time to invest in after-school programs that bring awareness to Afrocentric ways of living.
Celebrating Afrocentric After-School Activities
Systemic racism relies on the ignorance of our people. Our lack of knowledge regarding our people’s history and heritage perpetuates long-standing inequities. Our children deserve to know about the power and impact of their African ancestry.
Afrocentric after-school activities may not be easy to find. However, once you do pinpoint such initiatives, make sure to at least give them a try.
In order to witness the dismantling of educational inequity and systemic racism during our lifetimes, we must provide our children with Afrocentric education.
Racism and marginalization are concepts that no child should ever have to experience. Instead, they should surpass the curriculum that is being handed to them and assert the power of their African culture.
Exercising Academic Excellence
Our children are fully capable of greatness. They simply need some assistance during their early years in order to reach their goals. Academic excellence can be exercised both at school and with the help of after-school activities.
By developing academic and cultural pipelines, our youth has greater chances of effortlessly advancing from their K-12 years to college, from college to career, and from career right back to the communities that nurtured them into successful adults.
It all starts with acknowledging the limitations of the curriculum and of the schooling system. After-school activities not only improve the school-home relationship, but also preserve its core attributes for years to come.
The Conclusion Is…
In order to improve and preserve the hard-earned connection between families and educators, you can follow our four tips. As you’ve seen, respectful family engagement activities and culturally affirming after-school programs are crucial.
Also, embracing an Afrocentric approach when it comes to education while exercising academic excellence will come in handy when your mission is to build a powerful bridge between the school and home.
The Village Method is more than a regular after-school program. Above all, we value youth development, family engagement, and community outreach programming. Our mission is to bring our youth closer to their dreams while familiarizing them with their strong African roots, culture, and traditions.
Get involved today and help us build a village of joyful children, parents, and educators!