'Give your child more support' - Teacher asks parents to be more involved as new school year gets under way
Authorities from at least three schools serving the island's most needy youths are urging parents to become more involved in their children's lives as a lack of participation on their part directly impacts students' involvement in classroom activities.
"My greatest challenge here is parental support. The role that the parents play in encouraging the children to do homework, to go to school, to be on time and to be properly attired," Aldrick Durrant, principal of Tivoli Gardens High School, told The Gleaner.
Durrant said proper parental support was a critical challenge, which leads a lack of financial support, furniture and infrastructural problems, and a lag in technological advancement over the years.
While the other concerns mostly require long-term solutions, the issue of parental involvement is easier to address, he said.
"What I am expecting from the parents this year is more cooperation in terms of giving the child more support. We need them to ensure that the child does his or her homework, and ensure that he is happy. Ask how was his day today?" offered Eugenie Brown, principal of Denham Town Primary School.
"That's all I am expecting from the parents. And from the children, I just want them to come to school. This is their workplace and we just want them to come to school in a clean environment, learn and be happy," said Brown, who opens her doors to the students today.
She cited a dearth of school uniforms and books as another major challenge to student development and urged corporate entities to assist, if even the most vulnerable children at her school.
Meanwhile, Audrey Williams, principal of Denham Town High School, said while she urges more participation from parents, she understands the situation faced by many of them.
"Some schools have a big PTA (parent-teacher association), but not ours, because many of our parents have to sell, clean houses, and so on. We employ a strategy where we have one big PTA meeting for the year, and one for each grade during the term," said Williams.
"At home, the parents will try, but I would want a little more from them. I tell them, 'You don't have to be bright in the subject matter. All the child needs to know is that someone is there supervising them,'" she continued.