Date
21 April 2019

Partner with whānau, parents and caregivers

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Identifying needs and strengths, and accessing support’

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Find out what's important

Find out what's important

Ask parents to tell you about what's important to their child so you can connect it to learning. 

Example – A girl and her indispensable cat

What to ask

What to ask

Connect with parents, whānau, and caregivers to understand the strengths and needs of students.

Practical elements:

  • the language/s spoken at home
  • medications and allergies
  • equipment used at home
  • what they do at home to support learning.

Student’s likes and dislikes:

  • likes, interests, what they’re good at, need help with, can do independently
  • dislikes, what can upset them, how they express this, calming skills
  • favourites (TV programmes, hobbies, books, songs, sports).

The people in the student’s life:

  • parent and whānau hopes and priorities
  • important people in the student’s life
  • best methods and times to communicate with the family
  • professionals working with the family
  • questions they have and support they would like from the school.

Act on whānau expertise

Act on whānau expertise

Parents, Dayna and Phil, and class teacher Linda Ojala demonstrate the impact of working in close and responsive partnership.

Support home-school continuity

Support home-school continuity

Invite families to share approaches that are successful at home to build continuity and strengthen engagement and learning approaches.

  • Consider furniture options and physical supports that work well (for example, chairs, table heights).
  • Assimilate known interests, such as favourite colours, sports, and music, into the class.
  • Identify successful calming strategies and replicate these (for example, objects, cushions, dark spaces).
  • Align eating and personal routines with what happens at home.
  • Consider visuals that can be used both at home and school to support understanding.
  • Invite families to bring objects and items from home that are meaningful and offer support for their children.
  • Engage in conversations to identify potential barriers and ask families for solutions based on their personal experiences and expertise.
  • Use phrases and communication techniques that are effective and successful at home.

Support information sharing

Support information sharing

Communicate and share information in a meaningful way, demonstrating understanding and support for parents’ concerns.
  • Encourage parents and caregivers to share what they have noticed or assessments they have had done outside school.
  • Build on any programmes or materials used at home, to maximise consistency and support for the student.
  • Develop systems for passing on information about a student’s needs, progress and next steps.
  • Share information about out-of-school programmes that may help to boost the student’s self-esteem (for example, classes or groups for music, art, dance or sports).

Useful resources

Useful resources

Family whanau file2

Family/whānau file

Publisher: Ministry of Education | Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga

Download PDF (1300 KB)

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Identify needs and how to provide support”:

Return to the guide “ASD and learning”

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