Category: Creative Learners | Early literacy and numeracy development | 11 May, 2013 - 01:05← BACK
In many homes suffering the effects of poverty, opportunities for children to acquire early language and literacy skills through child-parent interaction are limited by low levels of parental education, knowledge and confidence. Yet research shows that children’s learning experiences in the home in the early years are a crucial factor in later educational success. Wordworks’ Home School Partnership (HSP) programme seeks to build networks of parents who feel empowered to play a role in their child’s education. This is achieved by training and mentoring facilitators to run a seven-week series of workshops for parents and caregivers of children between the ages of 4 and 7 years. The programme equips parents with the ideas, methods and confidence to support informal learning in the home. It is primarily run in schools by teachers who are trained as facilitators of the programme, with the added benefit that teachers are helped to better understand and value the role of parents in their child’s education.
Wordworks have run the HSP programme since 2006, and have gathered a compelling evidence base of the positive impact that the programme has on parents, caregivers and teachers, and, through them, children. In recent years, we have therefore reflected on how we might spread the values, methods and benefits of the programme more widely.
The responsibility upon NPOs to use our resources wisely and strategically requires us to continually identify productive opportunities for collaboration and sharing best practice. Unless an early literacy intervention is not only supported but also delivered by statutory service providers, the reach of that programme will remain limited. There are therefore huge gains – and savings – to be made by working in partnership with schools and education districts. Crucially, such an approach also upholds the core values of empowerment and respect in NPOs’ engagement with communities and professionals. This route may however require new ways of working for all parties, with NPOs being less preoccupied with the ‘branding’ of every use of their work, and schools and education officials becoming more open to embracing new expertise and approaches, both in order to put the interests of the child first.
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In this short article Wordworks shares with us the lessons they have learned while scaling-up their Home School Partnership (HSP) programme. There is strong evidence of the positive impact that the programme has on parents, caregivers and teachers, and, through them, children - this learning brief might thus be well worth the read for other early literacy and ECD programmes.