Engaged Parents, Stronger Students

April 1, 2017

By Staff

In conjunction with Read Lead and Success In Challenges, Children’s Defense Fund - California held the first meeting of the CDF-CA Freedom Schools® Parent Engagement Institute (Institute) at Hellen Keller Elementary School in Lynwood and the Long Beach Nonprofit Center.

The Institute is a pilot program that builds upon parent-to-child interactions to increase parents’ capacity to support their children’s positive development, and strengthens leadership skills among participating parents so that they engage in their scholars’ education more effectively. Throughout this curriculum the aim is for parents to start as early as their child’s infancy to create a mindset, expectation, and a culture that makes it clear college is a living and viable goal for their children.  This curriculum places a strong emphasis on language and literacy because they are the key to nearly every academic endeavor students will be expected to make in school.

The first session kicked off with an introductory overview of CDF’s Parent Engagement Institute’s asset-based curriculum which empowers parents with concrete concepts and practical tools meant to motivate them to support their children’s educational gains. Parents discussed their wishes for their children’s future in key areas such as: educational attainment, physical and mental health, citizenship and employment while reflecting on the necessary actions needed to help their children achieve these. Through additional sessions focused on storytelling, reading together, language in the midst of activity and civic participation parents will gain a deeper understanding of how language and literacy play a major role in determining their child’s future.  Parents will participate in activities that will support them in further engaging with their child at home in practical ways that ensure their children develop language, as a fundamental and essential tool for building structures in the brain that are necessary for regulating their own behavior, while allowing them to interact with their environment with literacy and critical thinking skills.

The parent meetings will be social events that affirm the parent, provide a warm and safe for peer connections, and inspire parents to meaningfully engage by taking the Institute’s activities to life at home.  The framework shaping the activities is a gradual release of responsibility model based on the “I Do” ; “We Do”; “You Do” structure in which parents will see concepts modeled and also have an opportunity to practice and or use tools during the session.