Education

How to Get More Involved with Your Child’s School in Surrey

Kindergarten: How it works for parents

Is your child going to kindergarten in September this year? If yes then you have probably filled up the registration forms and other documents in the last few weeks. From Monday, January 15, 2018 Surrey public schools opened the admission process for children who turn five years old this year.

School choices dominate major and minor family decisions including where to live, where to work and for a few years family life itself seems to revolve around the school routine.  The next decision for some families is about the choice of specialized programs such as French Immersion, Intensive Fine Arts, Montessori and Traditional types of education. Parents and guardians can register their children to these four programs through an online lottery application open for a 3-week window from January 29th to February 19th, 2018 (at midnight)

Little ones grow up fast and our role as a parent changes with that. In some ways kindergarten is their first step into their own world. Mummy and Daddy can get but glimpses of their educational adventures whilst they explore and imagine and learn. Kids are bursting with excitement to experience the rough and tumble but how ready are we the parents? How ready are we to let go or find alternative ways to be involved?

Parental involvement in schools:

Students benefit from parental involvement in their education such as in student homework, school projects and attention to everyday academic achievements. Parents can also volunteer in schools to support teachers in the classroom, at special events, on field trips, as community sport coaches and on school committees. Another way to stay connected with children’s school life is to be involved through the Parent advisory councils also known as PACs which represent the collective view of parents of children in the school. PACs facilitate effective communication between the public school, the parent community and school planning councils.

Devangini Patel has previously volunteered as Chair of the PAC in her children’s school leading the work in organizing events such as a welcome barbeque, potlucks and fundraising carnivals. Having recently relocated, her daughter will be seeking admission at the Lena Shaw School. “Our role as active PAC members is key in supporting the school in their mission to create STAR learners (Safe, Thoughtful, Accepting and Respectful). We can provide a new insight and valuable contribution to the school culture” she reflected. Cindy Dalglish who runs a grassroots group called Surrey Students Now’ to advocate for equitable education echoes this sentiment. “Parents can contribute in the work of PACs to build the school community and maintain a cohesive environment”.  “PACs are also supposed to be places where families can ask questions about how to navigate the system and find a supportive network” she adds.

Parents supporting local schools:

As per recent Media reports Surrey is B.C.’s largest school district, with some 72,000 students. It’s also home to 325 portables, 50 of which were added this year to accommodate a booming population. Parent groups have worked to highlight the need for infrastructure investment in the Surrey School District. Most recently, Surrey Students Now along with other parent groups across the province met with BC Premier John Horgan and Minister of Education Rob Fleming for constructive dialogue regarding issues facing the public education system and advocated for developing well-funded neighbourhood schools. Parents can participate in this way to support local public schools through advocacy and fund raising.

Photo Credit: Surrey Students Now

Parents are the first teachers of their children and every parent wants to give their child the best start possible. Many families may be new to Surrey and many parents may be looking to understand their role whilst adjusting to the new routine and requirements of their child. Fortunately our public education system provides ways for parents to participate and maintain a close bond with their little ones. After all no matter how old they get, they always need family support in different ways.

Asmita Lawrence
Asmita has been blogging for several years about food security, travels, faith, arts and culture. She enjoys community reporting to participate in the local conversation. She founded ‘Culture Chats’ promoting social connections through shared interests in literary and other arts. Asmita has over ten years’ experience in marketing and communications. Her professional interests include business strategy and relations, research and community development. Her family and two little ones are the center of her world.
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