• Parents should actively engage with their children to support their education.
  • Parents, even if they are not educated or literate, can play an important role in enhancing the education of their children at home.
  • Research in developed countries has demonstrated that parental engagement with children at home results in large improvements in student performance, with promising applications to developing country contexts.

Communicate to parents the benefits of actively engaging with their young children.

Parents may not see the benefits of engaging in their child’s education, especially if they themselves have limited schooling. The benefits of this interaction should be communicated clearly and without making parents feel defensive or guilty.

Mother Child Education Program

Learn about this program, which is a low-cost home-based program for mothers whose children do not have access to pre-school education services and found that it is important to communicate to parents the value of engaging with their children in a way that does not make them feel defensive or guilty.
ACEV Mother Child Education Foundation Turkey
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Parenting Heart to Heart: Facilitator’s Guide

Unit 9 (pages 110-119) of this guide provides suggestions for how program implementers or facilitators can engage with parents, including encouraging group discussions and interactive activities.
GM South Africa Foundation, 2012
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Parents and Learning

Pages 20-21 of this report lists different types of parent engagement.
UNESCO, 2014
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Parent Education Programs for Early Childhood Education

Page 174 of this report discusses how it is important to engage with parents in a non-threatening context.
Jessica Baker (2004)
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Sharing Stories Together

This is a brochure for parents that explains using pictures and simple text the importance of reading with children and tips for parents to read with their children, even if the parent is not literate.
Aga Khan Foundation, 2003
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Reading for Children: Facilitator's manual

This manual guides facilitators through parent training to encourage and empower them to read with their children; includes activities, discussion topics, and techniques for active reading and story-telling.
Aga Khan Foundation
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Provide simple materials and activities to guide parents as they engage with their children.

Implementers should provide parents guidance for simple activities to do with their children, like asking children about their school day, as well as supporting materials, like charts to mark a child’s progress.

Micro-innovations 2015 Parental and Community Engagement

This report provides ideas for activities that teachers can implement to encourage parents to become more engaged in their child’s education.
STIR Education, 2015 India
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Sharing Stories Together

This simple guide highlights how parents can get involved in teaching their children to read.
Aga Khan Foundation, 2003
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Parenting Heart to Heart: Facilitator’s Guide

Unit 9 (pages 110-119) of this guide provides examples of activities that facilitators can do with parents to encourage being involved in their child’s education.
GM South Africa Foundation, 2012
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Primary Caregiver Capacity Building Training Package

Session 6 (pages 121-141) of this guide provides examples of activities that facilitators can do with parents of very young children to encourage them to support their child’s intellectual development.
UNICEF (2008)
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Guide for Parents Booklet

This guide provides ideas for how parents can help their children develop literacy skills, including creating a comfortable environment and storytelling.
EAQEL, 2011
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Parenting Education Guidebook: Going to School

Booklet 9 (page 135) of this guidebook provides parents with information on what children should be able to do when they start school, and how parents can help support their children's development; the guidebook is available in English and 6 other languages.
UNESCO, 2011
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Ensure parent trainers and facilitators possess relevant skills and knowledge.

Facilitators of programs aiming to foster parent-child interaction should be knowledgeable about parenting and given continuous supervision and support. Some characteristics of good facilitators include flexibility, strong communication skills, and empathy.

Facilitator's Handbook for Parenting Education: Going to School

This handbook provides guidance on leading workshops for parents on supporting the development of their children; Part 1 (page 29) describes interactive strategies for working with parents; Workshop 9 (starting on page 143) focuses specifically on activities for leading effective parent workshops on the topic of supporting children's education.
UNESCO
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Parent Education Programs for Early Childhood Development

Page 174 of this report highlights the major characteristics facilitators should possess, which include possessing empathy, flexibility, and good communication skills.
Jessica Baker (2014)
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Resource Pack for Implementing Parening Education Programme

Section 3 of this Resource Pack (page 17) describes key messages for communicating with parents about parental support strategies, as well as best practices like providing a resource center for parents, making sure to include fathers and grandparents, ongoing support for parents via mobile phone, and the creation of parent groups.
UNESCO, 2012
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Facilitator's Manual: Parenting Support in Africa

This is a manual for facilitators of parent programs in Africa (though applicable to developing countries more widely); includes facilitator planning guides and handouts around key topics such as appropriate parental support for different stages in children's lives; also includes home assignments and parent reflection forms.
Catholic Relief Services, 2014
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Epstein's Framework of Six Types of Involvement

This framework provides examples of practices, challenges, and expected results in each of the 6 areas of family involvement: parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision making, and collaborating with the community.
UNICEF
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Featured Case Studies

This case study provides an example of how parent-child engagement programs work in practice. Click below for a detailed account of one program's experience fostering parent-child engagement.

East African Quality in Early Learning (EAQEL)

The East African Quality in Early Learning (EAQEL) initiative aimed to improve learning outcomes in reading and numeracy in low performing districts in Kenya and Uganda.

Aga Khan Foundation

Additional Programs

Click the links below to view profiles of programs that aim to foster parent-child engagement.

Tostan

As part of Tostan's Community Empowerment Program, facilitators share with community members techniques that enrich interactions between parents and their children.
Tostan Senegal
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Mother Child Education Program

MOCEP is a low-cost home-based program for mothers whose children do not have access to pre-school education services. The program empowers mothers by supporting them in their parenting roles and equipping them with the knowledge and the tools necessary for fostering the cognitive development of their children.
ACEV Mother Child Foundation Turkey
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Early Inspiration

Early Inspiration is an intervention program that provides training and support for parents and early childhood development practitioners to maximize young children's learning and social adjustment capabilities in South Africa.
Early Inspiration South Africa
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STIR Education

STIR encourages teacher-led innovations to improve learning, including those that engage parents and communities.
STIR Education
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Explore rigorous research and analysis showing how parent-child engagement can lead to improved learning.

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The Impact of Mother Literacy and Participation Programs: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in India

This evaluation of an intervention to improve mothers’ literacy and the home learning environment through literacy classes and training for mothers found that children of mothers in treatment groups scored higher on math tests than their control group counterparts.
International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, 2015 India
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Parent Education Programmes for Early Childhood Development: Reflections of Practitioners

This paper reviews practitioner experience in implementing parent engagement programs in South Africa aiming to improve early childhood development.
Baker, J. 2015
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Parental Involvement and Students’ Academic Achievement: A Meta-Analysis

From a meta-analysis of quantitative studies on the effect of parental involvement on children’s academic achievement, the authors find a moderate relationship between the two factors, with parental expectations for children’s education achievement having the strongest relationship with academic achievement.
Fan, X. Chen, M. 2001
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Parental Involvement’s Effects on Academic Performance

This study found that home-based parental involvement, which includes monitoring homework completion and discussing academic expectations, was associated with higher academic performance, while school-based engagement had a negative association.
Chowa, G. Masa, R. Tucker, J. 2013
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Parents and Learning

A “universally applicable” booklet for parental engagement in students’ learning.
UNESCO, 2014
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Politics of Participation: parental support for children’s learning and school governance in Burundi, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda

This report surveys the various ways in which parents support their children’s learning at home, as well as the challenges they face in doing so, through site visits and interviews.
ActionAid, 2010
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The Effect of Family Literacy Interventions On Children’s Acquisition of Reading

By combining results from 14 intervention studies that included parent-child activities that focus on reading, the authors find that parental involvement has a positive impact on children’s reading outcomes; having parents teach specific literacy skills was more effective than having parents listen to their children read, which in turn was more effective than having parents read to their children.
National Institute for Literacy, 2006
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The Impact of Parental Involvement, Parental Support and Family Education on Pupil Achievements and Adjustment: A Literature Review

This review of the literature on parental and family engagement shows that the majority of studies on the topic have found parental involvement in the home to have positive impacts on children’s learning outcomes.
Desforges, C. Abouchaar, A. 2003
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