How parents can help

Brian Schreuder, head of department, Western Cape Education Department

I write this letter to you to request you to support us in our ongoing efforts to ensure that every child in every class in every school in the province gets a quality education.
For this, parental support, encouragement and involvement is essential.

For a quality education, we need good teachers, well-run and effective schools, children who understand the importance of wanting to learn new things every day and supportive and encouraging parents.

We have good teachers and are continuing to support and develop them every year to improve their knowledge and skills required for a 21st century education.

This year the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has decided to launch 2017 The Year of the Teacher, so that we may celebrate our excellent teachers, show them the respect they deserve and support them.

I ask all parents to support us in this goal.

We have excellent schools. Many are among the best in the world.

We are working hard at improving the quality of all our schools.

But to be a really good education system, we need children who are ready to learn and want to learn, who have a positive attitude and approach to learning.

And here we appeal to all parents to assist us in making our education system great. Parents, you have an important role to play.

Pre-school phase:

From before a child is born, please look after yourself – don’t drink, don’t smoke and don’t do drugs.

0-4 years: The key is for your baby to feel secure and loved, and for you to provide mental, emotional and physical support.

Play with your child, read stories, tell them stories, visit the library for age-appropriate books, allow playtime with other children, consult your local clinic or doctor if you have concerns regarding your child’s health or development.

ECD and Grade R:

Early childhood development focuses on six key areas: developing a sense of well-being; of belonging and identity; talking, listening, communicating; exploring maths; creativity; and develop-ing knowledge and an understanding of the world.

There is a lot you can do for your child in all of these areas, in a loving, supportive home.

Young children learn through play. This includes physical play; playing with objects; play-acting and pretending; and playing games with rules.

Primary school phase: Allow enough time to play. Read and count every day. Establish study routines.

We are introducing technology to enhance teaching and learning in an integrated way. Children are growing up with technology, but parents must regulate it – make time for it, but make time to play outside too.

Set aside time for a bit of work at home every day. Speak of school as exciting. Do not criticise their teachers – help children to respect their teachers.

High school phase:

We must encourage all learners to stay in school.

Help choose subjects which suit a child’s ability, especially in Grades 8 and 9. Continue involvement with your child’s education. Support can mean time and volunteering – not only money.

Generally the most important thing a parent can do is to help us to maintain order and discipline in schools by instilling order and discipline in your homes, by encouraging every child to go to school to learn – for no other reason.

Help your child to respect their teachers and to work hard.

Education is the most important tool to change the world. It is the way by which your child can have a better life.

Help make our schools safer places. Keep gangsters and vandalism out. Communities must help us here in the interest of education of our youth. Please focus on the education of every child and help the WCED to build a better education system for all the children in the Western Cape.