Parent Connection and Engagement are crucial in a diverse community as it allows families to connect with their child's school, teachers, and other parents. By building a strong partnership, parents and schools can work together to ensure all students feel welcomed and supported, regardless of their background or identity. Engaged parents can also play a vital role in advocating for their child's needs, promoting cultural awareness, and fostering a positive learning environment for all students. Overall, parent engagement can significantly impact student success and the overall well-being of the school community.
At the Western International School of Shanghai, we believe bringing together families from diverse cultural backgrounds is crucial in creating a vibrant, open-minded community that encourages global citizenship in our students and enriches their education. Despite the challenges of connecting diverse groups, we have discovered effective ways to engage and connect with our parents throughout the school year.
One of our most beloved events, International Day, was recently held on campus. We were thrilled to come together to celebrate our community's rich diversity. The country and region stalls were organized by passionate parent volunteers and featured colorful cultural displays, activities, and exotic foods. The International Day Parade of Flags and cultural performances by students, parents, and staff made this event an excellent example of cultural exchange and sharing.
Our 'Cultural Connections' workshops offer a more social atmosphere for parents to connect and exchange. Led by parent volunteers, these workshops highlight unique traditions, activities, or foods associated with a festival from their home country's culture. Most recently, the Indian parents' community treated us to a brilliant introduction to the Hindu celebration 'HOLI - A Festival of Colors' through storytelling, treats, games, and music.
As part of our community-building initiatives, the school also offers a series of Parent Engagement workshops led by our experienced Academic Leadership Team. These workshops are tailored to deepen parents' understanding of our school's approach to teaching and learning. Workshops consist of informative and interactive sessions that cover various academic and socio-emotional topics to provide tips and resources for parents to help support their child's learning and development at home.
With our diverse community of over 50 nationalities and more than 37 languages, we want to ensure that we support our parent community with communication. The school has initiated English and Chinese Clubs for parents to overcome language barriers. These clubs, led weekly by parent volunteers, provide a stress-free environment to practice speaking English or Chinese with each other.
Through the range of activities and opportunities offered to parents at the Western International School of Shanghai, we promote active engagement and contribution to the wonderfully eclectic community at the school.
By Allie Lo, Director of Community Relations & Communications at the Western International School of Shanghai
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