The Region Five Department of Education, on Thursday, honoured 100 mothers for their significant contributions to the education system in the
region through their involvement in the life of the child or children at their respective nursery, primary or secondary schools.
The award ceremony was held at the Latchmansingh Primary School under the theme: Paradise lies at the feet of mothers.
Senior Schools’ Welfare Officer (SSWO) of the region, Mrs. Gloria Davidson-James, said that over the past years, the welfare section of the Department of Education has conducted truancy campaigns and counselled children with behavioural issues throughout the region.
She said that the Department of Education believes that parental involvement is important in children’s lives.
According to Ms. Davidson-James, the initiative to honour mothers began two years ago when it was discovered that parental involvement was minimal across the region.
She said that through consultation, it was decided that a competition should start to encourage parents to become more involved in the academic life of their children.
She said that research has shown that when parents work together, children perform better, stay in school longer and are more likely to graduate.
Among the criteria considered when choosing the parents to be honoured, Ms. Davidson-James explained that parents must attend Parent-Teacher Association meetings of the school and they must be a motivator to their children, other children and parents of the school.
Delivering the feature address and representing the Minister of Education, Dr. Nicolette Henry, was Technical Officer within the Ministry of Education, Ms. Simone Wills.
She commended the region for boasting an outstanding parental partnership in the school system. According to Ms. Wills, it is important to understand that such effective partnerships are based on mutual trust, respect and shared responsibility for the educating of children.
She said that parents who show an interest in the curricula and educational methods are more able to assist their children with home assignments and monitor their study habits.
Recognising that the partnership that was recognised on Thursday is a two-way relationship, Ms. Wills noted that for parents to be involved, the school has got to provide that inviting atmosphere and attitude that encourages parents to visit and play an active role in the school dispensation.
The Technical Officer said that research has shown that the key to any successful school is positive parental involvement.
“Three ways of providing such mutual exchange are open lines of communication, maintain the house-school connection and tackle problems constructively and collectively,” Ms. Wills remarked.
She said that families are the first educators of children and they continue to influence their children’s learning and development during the school years and long afterwards.
Ms. Wills noted that it is important to build a strong connection between the school and parents in order to foster a major impact on student learning, regardless of the social or cultural background of the family.
It was noted that parental involvement produces outcomes such as improved student learning, attendance and behaviour.
“Family involvement in students’ learning cannot be overemphasized. Parents unquestionably are considered the most important stakeholders, since they share a common interest and investment in their children’s learning,” the educator said.
On behalf of the Ministry of Education, Ms. Wills commended the parents, teachers and officers in the region for setting such an outstanding example.
Regional Education Officer, Mrs. Deon Lyn Lewis-Clarke, said that parents are required to teach children good behavioural practices. She said that parents need to ensure that their children attend school regularly and punctually.
According to the REdO, the parents honoured on Thursday should feel privileged to be selected from a larger group of parents. She told the mothers that their involvement in the education system means a lot for the growth of the respective schools, community and the country as a whole.
She said that parental involvement provides the support that is needed by children especially when they face academic hurdles and other problems while growing up.
Deputy Regional Executive Officer (DREO), Mr. Sherwyn Wellington, asked the women in attendance to continue praying for their children to be uplifted. He urged them to show love to their children during their worst and best times.
Member of Parliament, Jennifer Wade, urged the mothers to continue speaking to their children to do the right thing.
She said, “We cannot give up on our children, even if they do bad deeds.”
Ms. Wade congratulated the 100 women for the work they have done and encouraged them to continue working in the best interest of their children and their country.
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