Tips: Break down barriers

Tips for School Councils: Break down barriers to participation
Posted on 12/08/2023

The Ministry of Education has created 25 helpful tips for School Councils on involving parents in the school. This month, we’re sharing tips #8-10, which focus on addressing barriers to family engagement in School Council.

Break down barriers to participation

Many parents would welcome the opportunity to engage in the school community but face barriers to involvement. These tips will help you encourage more parents to get involved by addressing issues such as child care, language, transportation and accessibility to school events and programs.

Tip 8: Child care

Sometimes parents can’t attend meetings because they don’t have access to child care. Consider providing child care to help parents participate more easily in school events. Take care that you are following all board policies and procedures.

Tip 9: Offer translation services

For parents who speak a first language other than English, consider offering translation services for council meetings and other events.

Parents will also appreciate receiving selected school documents, such as newsletters or important information notices, in a variety of languages.

Members of the school community, and the larger community, are often pleased to provide language support to new families.

Tip 10: Vary times and places

Consider holding events or meetings at different times and places - in the community, virtually and/or at different times of day or evening. The local library, for example, is often an ideal place to hold an information event and can serve to raise the public visibility of the school at the same time.

Some parents may be more comfortable meeting outside the school and/or virtually. Others may find it difficult to attend scheduled events – due, for example, to shift work or family commitments.

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