01 August 2009
This review provides an overview of the key debates and current practice and research into home-school relationships, with a particular focus on children’s role and the opportunities offered by digital technologies to facilitate home-school relationships.
Children’s learning is not restricted to the time they spend in school; they learn in different ways in a wide range of different contexts, with friends and family at home and in other settings. Taking this more holistic view of children’s learning lives’, it is clear that children do not leave the rest of their lives behind when they enter the school gate, and so to support children’s learning in the broadest sense, we need to take account of their lives and learning in and out of school.
Much research, strategy and policy on home-school relationships has focused on the relationship between parents and schools. This is particularly seen in the strong current focus on improving parental engagement in children’s learning, which is a significant factor in children’s educational achievement. Parents’ engagement in their children’s learning is clearly related to the relationship between home and school, and the connections and overlap between parental engagement and home-school relationships will be discussed. This review does not offer a full review of literature around parental engagement, which can be found elsewhere. Children themselves can and do play an active role in influencing and facilitating the nature and extent of this relationship and mediating between school and homecontexts. Their active role in this three-way relationship therefore needs to be acknowledged and explored.
Digital technologies are an integral part of many families’ home environments and communication strategies, and are increasingly used by schools to support learning, communicate with parents and provide access to school resources from the home and so may offer opportunities to facilitate communication and the building of relationships between home and school.