Asma Gilani, principal, Our Own English High School, Sharjah. Image Credit:

It does not matter how old your child is – a teen about to start college, a little boy busy with his peers or just a baby warm and secure in your arms. Once a parent, always a parent. We love our children to bits, but what most parents fall short of is time. Time is a precious commodity these days and as gadgets are making communication more and more easy and available, we are drifting further apart.

“The National Curriculum Framework 2005 recommends that childrens’ life at school must be linked to their life outside the school. Bookish learning causes a gap between school, home and community. The committee also discourages the maintenance of sharp boundaries between the different subject areas”. At Our Own English High School Girls’ Branch, collaboration with parents is imperative to prepare the children for the world of tomorrow. We understand that a parent knows his child best. Parent participation helps students become not only conscientious human beings and responsible citizens, but also good professionals.

Parents’ aspirations, what they do with their children at home, and how they support their child’s learning and development has a real impact on how well their children succeed. Apart from teaching and learning, the interaction between parents and the school is important to provide a strong foothold to our children into the future. As educationalists, it becomes essential to be more vigilant about ourselves when different plans are put in place to connect students and parents. A healthy partnership with parents in raising their children is possible only in an open and friendly environment. Our teachers, therefore, focus on developing a code of personal image that can be enhanced to meet different situations. Flexibility is the key to effective communication which will offer viable solutions to grave problems.

Across the different levels of learning, we run age-appropriate activities that encourage parent-pupil-teacher interaction. The most innovative and successful project was our nutrition week wherein students of grades 11 and 12 literally took home their understanding of nutrition and its health implications. During this project week, school and home worked in tandem. While the mothers concentrated on a trim waist, the fathers were pressed to run a mile. Parents became participants as their daughters took home pointers on good nutrition and health monitoring. Everyone enjoyed this blend of creativity, humour and togetherness. While one mother was excited because her teenage daughter was convinced that she could eat right and not go on a diet, another was in giggles because this was the first time in the 18 years of their marriage that she had seen her husband run!

It was pure bliss to see them work together and enjoy the family spirit.

Another interesting project that comes to mind is the HSBC Eco School Project. The Our Own Eco Club conducted a workshop for 20 enthusiastic parents in the school. In this hour-long session, the members of the Eco-Club shared informative tips on how to reduce water and electricity consumption at home. The parents were briefed on conservation and motivated to be Eco Smart. The workshop initiated healthy practice of cutting down expenses and becoming energy-wise. At the end of November and February, water and electricity bills were compared. In a showcase of imbibed competitive spirit, the parents made their best efforts to cut down their consumption. The parents with the maximum difference in billing were honoured at a special function on Earth Day as the ‘Energy Heroes’ of the year.

Yes, we all do the daily drill of our tasks and chores. But taking a moment to step down from that treadmill of life to see the ones who are looking up to you, makes a world of difference. Strive to work closer with your children. Give them the attention without them having to go astray to seek it. Give them an upbringing of love that is bron of the seed of patience so they can be better learners, workers, teachers and parents.

(Asma Gilani is Principal, Our Own English High School, Sharjah, and one of the winners of the 2012-13 Khalifa Award for Excellence in Education.)