Project| Responses| Mrs. Kateřina Círová

Mrs. Kateřina Círová

“When our school joined Helping Schools Succeed in 2010, a long process of transforming its internal teaching environment was launched at the school. We are turning it into an environment where all children feel safe and good, and where every student can experience their own individual success. This decision did not promise an easy path; on the contrary, it foreshadowed taxing demands and requirements for the teachers’ work, new values that were not based on ‘straight A’s’ only, and a complete change of thinking and behavior to be injected into the educational process. As the chairwoman of the parents’ association at the time, I felt a huge need for parents to understand the changes and become an integral part of the transformation.

Students’ parents often know the epithets of which their schools boast, such as Healthy School, Eco-School and so on, but they know very little about the real meaning that these words have for their children’s life at school. In effect, the various school projects and certificates turn into quality labels with no real content. This is why our parents’ association took up the goal to give parents enough information about the process of their children’s education. Not only do well-informed parents have a positive attitude to changes at schools; they can also become active participants.

When the Kunratice Elementary School joined Helping Schools Succeed, the Patron parents’ association and the project’s instructional coach organized a meeting with the parents of the school’s students. The parents were told about the project plans and goals. The means and the new teaching methods intended to improve the quality of teaching were described to them. The meeting with parents was a success. The parents were really interested in the new opportunities and methods. And so, meetings with parents have become an integral part of the project. Our association started to organize regular workshops, called Parents’ Cafes, where the parents learn to use the new teaching methods for helping their children with learning at home, such as reading workshops focused on developing children’s literacy.

The project even inspired the parents. Taking a cue from co-teaching, which the teachers had an opportunity to try out, the parents are now co-financing co-teachers at the first stage of the elementary school through the parents’ association. Parents and teachers then share their observations of how much their children enjoy the care of two teachers, during their regular Parents’ Cafes. At this point, co-teaching is the principal project for the Patron association, which sponsors co-teaching in classes in three grades this year.

The cooperation with the project has opened up new ways for parents to be actively involved in their children’s school life. The parents’ attitude to the changes that modern teaching brings about is much more positive, because the parents understand those changes. The parents’ positive attitude to education and their interest in the developments at school are the biggest motivational factor that makes children like learning. And this is the shared goal for us all -- parents, schools and the promoters of teaching quality.”

Mgr. Kateřina Círová
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