Date
14 October 2019

Create a welcoming environment where parents and whānau can openly discuss concerns

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Supporting reciprocal relationships with parents and whānau’

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Listen to parents

Listen to parents

Consider these suggestions from parents to support relationship building.
  • Be open and welcoming to parents and their children.
  • Create opportunities and time for parents and whānau to talk to teachers about their children’s learning and well-being.
  • Have interpreters available to support parents and overcome language barriers.
  • Identify appropriate staff as key contact people for specific groups of parents.

Source: Partners in learning: Parents' voices (September 2008) (opens in a new tab/window)

Demonstrate care of students

Demonstrate care of students

Manaakitanga, or care for students’ well-being and learning, provides a common purpose and bond with parents and whānau.

Care can be demonstrated through making the time and effort to build positive relationships with students, their whānau, and their communities of support.

It is a mark of respect and an indication that everyone’s contribution is valued.

Connect with families

Connect with families

Making connections between what the student does at home, and with their family, supports and extends learning. 

Value and act on parent concerns

Value and act on parent concerns

We thought something was wrong for a long time but we couldn’t put our finger on it. We mentioned our concerns to the school but, because our child was coping, the school didn’t see any reason to suspect any issues. It made us feel powerless. We felt like we were sticking our noses in, and we very nearly gave up. We wanted our child to reach their potential, not battle and hide their difficulties.

Parent feedback from the Kip McGrath Education Centre

Identify barriers

Identify barriers

Consider potential barriers to families sharing concerns.

  • Unsure who is the right person to talk to.
  • Experiences of their concerns being dismissed in the past.
  • Language and cultural barriers.
  • Experience the perception that their child is seen as a problem.
  • Teachers using language that implies a deficit view of diversity and disability.
  • Inflexible school or class processes and protocols.
  • Teachers being unavailable or setting aside too short a time for discussion.
  • A lack of flexible options for communication.
  • No processes for timely responses.

Useful resources

Useful resources

Website

Special education needs

Publisher: Ministry of Education | Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga

Visit website

Website

Inclusive education: Video series

Publisher: Government of Alberta

Visit website

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Support reciprocal relationships”:

Return to the guide “​Partnering with parents, whānau, and communities ”

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