Parental Involvement at YCIS
Just like the relationship between a parent and child, the relationship between a parent and their child’s school should be a reciprocal one. At YCIS Shanghai, there are a multitude of ways for parents to get involved and work closely with the school, including participating in workshops and initiatives, and organisations within the school community. On any given day, parents may be on one of the school’s campuses taking part in fitness classes, teaching a language class to other parents, enjoying an educational workshop, helping in a classroom, working on a charity project or event – and much more – and the school actively encourages the strengthening of these community bonds.
A Plethora of Ways to Get Involved
At the beginning of each school year, teachers welcome all parents to join in with school life through open mornings, volunteer opportunities, and through the Parent Organisation of Puxi and the Parent Organisation of Pudong (POP). In order to be a parent-helper on campus, each parent first registers with the school and takes part in child protection training.
According to Ms Jana van Zyl, Early Childhood Education & Primary Student Well-being Coordinator at YCIS Puxi “At our YCIS Puxi campuses, there are a huge variety of ways our parents can get involved, including joining field trips, organizing and running Co-Curricular Activities, helping out with concerts and musicals, assisting in our libraries, and helping boost curriculum areas. Our parents are incredible at supporting not only their children’s learning and growth but also in fostering the YCIS community spirit at YCIS Puxi.”
Demonstrating Community Spirit
Recently, Year 1 and Year 3 YCIS Puxi parents demonstrated this community spirit by helping to design campus Learning Community spaces to complement the curriculum. Ms Monica Gannon, the YCIS Puxi Year 1 Leader, organised a morning for the Year 1 parent-helpers to come in, enjoy a coffee and snack, and brainstorm ways they could be more actively involved in the Learning Community space. From this, the parents became the ‘designers’ of the learning space, with a key focus on the space being interactive. Ms Gannon shared that this is done in conjunction with the teachers and students, as well. Later, the Year 3 teachers also invited parents in to design an interactive learning space for the unit on Ancient Rome.” Ms Natalie Grey, Lower Primary Coordinator at YCIS Puxi, said, “The parents came in, and though the teachers had many ideas, the parents took it to a new level! They spent days on the project and created a really amazing learning space for the children. These parents are involved in the school in such an engaged and positive way and went above and beyond our wildest dreams with their designs!”
A Supportive Parent Organisation
Another way parents are actively involved at YCIS is through the school’s Parent Organisations of Puxi and Pudong (POP). POP is open to all members of the YCIS community and has a Core Committee which meets every month to help to plan elements of community activities and support parental involvement. POP oversees major school events, helps run activities on special occasions, such as Christmas and Chinese New Year, supports charity initiatives, helps welcome new parents, and much more. With so much expert knowledge amongst the parents, they are able to make an incredible impact at the school.
An Environment That Welcomes Parent Input
Class Parent Representatives are also an essential part of the school, as they help bridge the sharing of information between the class teachers and the parents. The representatives also help to support seasonal activities and class parties and help share essential information from the school. This creates an open environment for parent input and for helping to keep parents informed.
In addition, when parents have ideas for their own initiatives to enhance the community, the school is always willing to listen. Initiatives launched recently at YCIS Pudong by parents include the re-organisation of the Lost & Found facility, which is now fantastically efficient, and parent-run ‘Creation Stations’, which are currently being piloted every Wednesday for Year 4-5 students. These arts and crafts pop-up stations provide participating students with the materials to explore and develop their creativity.
When it comes to volunteering, the school always endeavours to work with parents in building relationships, formulating ideas, and maintaining an open dialogue. “We are always very happy to be approached by parents who want to work with the school community to help it to continue to grow and thrive. No idea is too big or too small, and we value all of the voices of our community members, whether they’ve been with us for days, months, or years,” said Ms Roseline Yang, Community Relations Officer at YCIS Pudong.
A Beneficial Partnership
Having parents actively engaged as partners with the school is essential to the students’ academic and social success, and the school is a much more robust community as a result of the incredible support of the families. This is why YCIS works hand-in-hand with families to foster the healthy growth and successful education of their child. Parents can participate in their child’s school life through an open and regular line of communication with their teachers, and they are encouraged to become involved in a wide range of events and activities at the school community, all of which brings the YCIS spirit to life!