Written by Madeline Mitchell
What is quality education? Madeline Mitchell, owner of Hi iQ Tutoring Bondi and a parent herself discusses this topic with us!
As a parent with a school-aged child/children, there is nothing more important than ensuring that your child receives a quality education. The problem is that once you drop your precious little one off at the gate and they line up and head into class, you’re not really sure what happens after that! Not only do you not know what happens inside the classroom, but you often don’t receive feedback from the school until the mid-year reports and end of year reports! So how do you know what quality education really is? What can you do to ensure your child is receiving quality education everyday? And how can you support your child with quality education at home!
In Australia, there is a governing body “Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority” (ACECQA) protecting our children and guiding our educators to ensure that schools are providing quality education. The ACECQA website states that ‘research shows quality education and care early in life leads to better health, education and employment outcomes later in life’. This means that whilst schools are running as independent entities, they must comply with these national standards and they are constantly assessed to ensure compliance.
Along with the typical subjects – English, Maths etc, there are also other key learning areas that are vital to your child’s growth and development and are outlined in the ‘National Quality Framework’. These include:
- Children have a strong sense of identity
- Children are connected with and contribute to their world
- Children have a strong sense of wellbeing
- Children are confident and involved learners
- Children are effective communicators
These outcomes aid in developing your child’s self-esteem, resilience, and capacity to learn.
Quality education encompasses all aspects of learning within the classroom – academics, to peer support, social interaction and even community service. From a day to day level, you want to ensure that your child enjoys going to school. Ask your son/daughter what they are looking forward to learning each week! Remember that all children have days when they would rather stay home or sleep in (don’t we all!). However, if your child is really resisting and seems fearful or really upset about attending school, it may be worth investigating why this is the case.
Within the classroom, you want to hear about a range of learning opportunities taking place. Worksheets and copying from the board have a time and place and are vital for some learning opportunities, but for most primary schools, this style of teaching should be a thing of the past! Classrooms today are much more focused on the diverse learning needs of our children. Group work, differentiated learning tasks, research, hands-on exploration, storytelling, mind mapping and digital work portfolios are all commonplace within schools today!
Many schools today have a parent information portal or information on the website that outlines what your child will be covering each school term. This information or overview is extremely valuable as a parent as it provides you with conversation starters for your child. If you are aware of what is being taught in the classroom you can ask your child specific questions about the learning and lesson content. Rather than the typical ‘what did you do in school today?’ question and standard ‘nothing’ response, you can spark up genuine conversation ‘In your unit of work on Antarctica, have you learnt about how the animals survive the freezing conditions? Being an informed parent is key to ensuring your child is receiving a quality education.
At some point in the school year, all children are going to have homework or an assignment that needs assistance or a friendly, parental point in the right direction. It’s important that quality education is followed up at home as well as at school. Talk to your child about correct referencing and plagiarism when gathering information from the internet. Get creative with presentation skills and use of palm cards, posters, powerpoints, and apps. Move with the technology! There are lots of quality apps out there that can assist your child with their learning at home!
The biggest point of difference for us as adults is that schools have changed since we went to school! Our children are using technologies that didn’t exist when we were their age, terms we may never have heard of and our children are covering much larger content and curriculum than previous generations. The most important thing to remember is that you are the biggest support for your child! You need to be positive about their school, teacher and learning opportunities!
And who knows, your child may even teach you a thing or two!!