Dear Barb – Helping children excel in school

Dear Barb:

I enjoy reading your column. My question is about my six year old who has just entered grade one. I work full-time days, but I would like to find a way to become involved in her education. Do you know how I could go about doing this?

Irene in Halifax

Hi Irene. It’s great that you are interested in becoming involved in your child’s education. Research has shown that students whose parents are actively involved in their education have increased self-esteem and are higher achievers academically as compared to children whose parents are not involved.

There are many ways you can become involved in your child’s education, even though you work during the day. Pay attention to school newsletters that your daughter brings home, they advise parents of school functions and activities where parental volunteers are needed. Many of these events may take place on Saturdays or after school. For example, the school may need parents to monitor tables at bazaars or bake sales. As well, parents may be needed to prepare baked goods or make signs for these events. Also, if you sew, perhaps you can make costumes for school plays or concerts. Speak to your child’s teacher or the school principal about the skills you have to offer.

Becoming involved with your child’s education begins at home. Spend time reading to your child every day and have your child read to you. Provide a quiet area for your child to do her homework and check the homework when it is completed. Attend parent/teacher interviews to discuss your child’s progress. Also, become a member of the Parent Teacher Association. If this is not possible, take the time to vote in school elections.

Research shows that involvement in your child’s education can have real benefits. According to the U.S.-based National Education Association (NEA) website (, research has shown that parental involvement in a child’s education helps kids do better in school. Additionally, reading development is known to be more “dependent on learning activities in the home” than other skills. Children who talk with their parents about their schoolwork tend to perform better academically. Early involvement in the child’s education is more beneficial than later involvement (though any level of parental involvement is good). The NEA notes that, “three kinds of parental involvement at home are consistently associated with higher student achievement: actively organizing and monitoring a child’s time, helping with homework and discussing school matters.” See the NEA website for more information on how you can help your child excel in school.

By becoming involved in your child’s education, you are showing your child that you value her education. As a result she will appreciate school as a positive experience.

Thanks for writing. I hope this helps Irene.


National Education Association (2006). Getting involved in your child’s education. Retrieved from

E-mail your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality: your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

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