Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

New Zealand Curriculum Online navigation


Community engagement – a parent's perspective

Views: 8122

Saga Frost is a parent at Owairaka School in Auckland. She discusses what it is like to be a partner in the learning community at her school and reveals that she didn't realise, until she got involved, how much she could impact on her child's learning. She challenges other parents to see themselves as someone who can add value. "You add value at home, you add value at your church, you can add value at your school as well."

There are five films in the Owairaka school series:

  1. Ideas to engage your community
  2. An open door policy that works
  3. Supporting teachers with community engagement in the classroom
  4. Community engagement - a parent's perspective
  5. Engaging Pasifika families - Owairaka School builds a fale

Professional learning conversations

These questions and suggested actions encourage you to reflect on your own school context.

Home-school partnerships

The School Leadership and Student Outcomes BES found that the most effective home-school partnerships are those in which:

  • parents and teachers are involved together in children's learning
  • teachers make connections to students' lives
  • family and community knowledge is incorporated into the curriculum and teaching practices.
  • How do the partnerships with parents and whānau at your school help parents to support their children’s learning?
  • Do partnerships with parents and whānau enable consideration about students’ competencies across school and home contexts?
  • What systems, initiatives, and programmes in your school best support the achievement of an inclusive school community?

Have you seen ...

Conducting community engagement workshops
Schools can select from these comprehensive workshop materials to support community engagement initiatives.


The community at Owairaka school is a rainbow of different cultures. We’ve got families from Africa here, from our many Pacific Islands, including Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, even Fiji, Niue - so we’ve got beautiful layers of different cultures in our community. The lovely thing about our community is that no matter how different or similar we are, we always are able to come and add flavour to whatever the school is learning so that our children are always standing apart, but together if that makes sense, so they’re united but they’re still individual in their own rights. 

You know one thing that our children love to see is their parents here. Even if it’s just at a fundraiser but they love to really impress their parents. Having parents around where the children can see them is just a wonderful thing. Again, it’s that solidifying that relationship with that parent - between child and parent, it’s just so important. I know that my son, he loves coming to tell me how great he’s done, or this reading he’s been able to achieve, and you can’t put a price on that. And children do want their parents to be seen in the school. 

When I first came to Owairaka school, which was back in 2006, I was a person who left it up to the teachers to take care of the education of my children. When I came into this school there was a real willingness and openness to have parents come along. I didn't realise until I got involved how much I can impact my child. The greatest influence a child has is their parents. So it’s really important for parents and community to be involved in the school life of their children. Because it really forms that partnership, and a really meaningful relationship. No matter how small we contribute to the school life, when it comes down to wanting your own child or your community of children to succeed we have a voice because we have that relationship within the school environment. We are heard, they take action with what we say. It’s so important to form that partnership, that involvement no matter how small we may consider that contribution to be. 

At this school the focus is on all children. It’s not just because one group supports the school more we’re going to put all our resources into - it’s not like that. In our culture they say that it takes a village to raise a child, and we all belong to one village here at Owairaka. Each one of us have our own roles and responsibilities and we take them very seriously. Really understanding that it’s for all children. So if our Samoan culture can help another child from Africa then that’s just awesome. It’s all about all our children. 

I think being involved in the school, in your child’s school, doesn’t mean that you have to change. It means you have something within you that the school is wanting to use. You have a beautiful way that you can contribute, and don’t be fearful that you need to change in order to understand what’s happening within your school. School is another extension of our aiga, our family. Schools need help as much as the extension of other aigas that we have in our own community. So come with - sometimes you have to swallow your pride and it’s really good for your children as well to see you involved in it. I think those are the things I would say don’t be fearful, and see yourself as something, someone that can add value because you can. You add value at home, you add value in your church - you can add value into your school as well.

Published on: 17 Jan 2013