Effective Learning through Strong Home-School Partnerships

At Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi, we know that a truly inspiring and effective education requires a partnership between school, families and students. At the core of this is effective communication. Below, Deputy Head of Early Years, Ms. Harrison, discusses the importance of strong home-school communication in the Early Years setting.

Parents and close family members are the most important people in a child’s early years. It is through them that children begin to learn about the world and develop routines. When a child begins school, a positive relationship between families and teachers is crucial to ensuring the child settles well into their new environment and that their needs are fully supported. A strong partnership between the College and our families is a fundamental aspect of effective classroom practice, which supports children’s learning. In order to understand each child as a unique individual and support their needs, practitioners must understand the influences they receive at home and what experiences children have had outside of school. One of the ways we encourage parents to share children’s experiences is through the Tapestry platform. This is an effective way that parents can share information about what their children have been doing outside school. Teachers are then able to build on those experiences, combining information from home with observations that they make within the classroom to craft a personalised educational journey for each child. Teachers use this knowledge to plan suitable learning experiences and extend learning in a contextual manner. This leads to rapid, targeted progress and effective learning.

On the other hand, practitioners are equipped with the training and skills required to understand how children learn. With our teachers regularly sharing their understanding of each child with families, children are more likely to receive the best out-of-school experiences. Parents are subsequently with the tools and knowledge to support learning outside the classroom, in turn benefiting their child's ongoing development. Our teachers are meeting with families this week for Parent Teacher Conferences. This is a great opportunity for us to discuss their child’s progress and achievements so far this year and the next steps to develop their learning.

Home-school communication comes in many forms; from regular interactions with teachers through to case-by-case questions, events and other contact points. With so many interactions and such a deep partnership formed between school and home, it is important to understand where questions and information can be directed in order to make communication and smooth and effective as possible.

A comprehensive "Home-School Communication Guide", which acts as a quick reference point for parents to know who to contact and under which circumstance, will be published in an upcoming weekly Dulwich Voice newsletter. Additionally, contact points and information are also included in each phase of the College’s Parent Handbooks.

Of course, home-school communications is a process requiring ongoing refinement and improvement. As a school operating on the principle of “getting better never stops” we will continue to work with our community members to explore the best methods of communication, ensuring that our home-school partnerships are stronger than ever. We look forward to building more learning partnerships with our community in 2021.