Healthy habits from the time they’re little: the Little GEMS approach to Parental Engagement
The goal of the GEMS Parental Engagement programme is to improve children’s achievement and personal development by supporting the engagement of parents in their children’s learning.
A solid foundation for the programme has been established in GEMS schools across the UAE since 2009, and demand for the initiative is evident by the tens of thousands of parents who participate in annual Parental Engagement events and activities.
During these sessions, parents are encouraged to understand what their child is learning, how they learn, and to support the learning that occurs in school.
More importantly however, engagement means to consistently challenge your children to think and learn new things beyond school and to take opportunities to learn at home – anywhere, anytime.
As research continues to prove the positive impact engaged parents can have on children’s achievement, GEMS continues to encourage parents to take the lead and make family learning central to their lifestyle.
We call the GEMS approach to engaging parents in their children’s learning, “3-a-day” and we encourage parents to do the three most effective engagement strategies everyday:
talk about learning…
By talk about learning, we mean have regular two-way conversations about what your child is thinking and learning - this means listening too.
Ask questions about the world around us, support with repetition, and extend learning by introducing new vocabulary
Without TV, phones or distractions
By share learning, we mean experience or do learning focused activities together - this will change as children grow older.
Read together (proven best activity for Primary children)
Explore and experiment with new things
By encourage learning, we mean effectively and specifically praise progress as well as the efforts children make to learn – this is perhaps the most important of the three daily habits.
Give specific feedback on how/what they are learning
Role model a positive attitude towards learning and school
Role model perseverance and discipline – stick with a task
Guide their daily routines
Set high standards and realistic expectations
These three daily habits are doable and easily adapted to any family style or culture. It’s important that families do them naturally in their own way, and consistently.
Parents for whom English is not a first language are encouraged to do “3-a-day” in their home language(s). GEMS believes that even parents who may feel they lack the skills or confidence to support the curriculum, have something to offer and can encourage their students by being strong role models of learning.
Applicable at any age or stage, we hope that “talk, share, encourage” become healthy family learning habits, which stay with students throughout their school careers, and develop as their needs change.
Little GEMS and the dedicated GEMS Parental Engagement Website, www.gemsparents.com will offer suggestions for how to “talk, share, encourage” and consistent reminders to do your “3-a-day” for the benefit of our children.
The Little GEMS International Parent Nurture Programme arranged by the staff in each LGI setting provides parents with a range of opportunities to find out about the LGI curriculum and method and how to support their children’s learning and development at home.