Lawson Brown High School decided that, based on the evaluations by Parents of the workshops in 2017, these workshops would continue in 2018, again run by the Principal, Mr Cairncross and assisted by the Grade 8 Teachers and this time, the Grade 11 Class Captains.
On Day 1, a trickle of parents was registered by 08H55. But by 09H05, the hall was packed with 158 parents!! This record exceeded the highest attendance in 2017 of 135! Even though this is the highest registered per capita, it represented 70% of the learners in Grade 8. It is STILL an overwhelming attendance of parents who eagerly participated in the discussion and freely gave feedback from group-work in the course. Parents were engaged in realising their role as parents in a new environment - the high school and the demands placed upon them and their children.
They examined the concept, “Parenting is …” and looked at the PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL and EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT they give to their children. Parents accepted a CODE of CONDUCT for PARENTS, adopted from the Quality Teaching and Learning Campaign rolled out by the Department of Education.
Parents willingly (and sometimes slyly) participated in the physical listening activity, “Simon says …” directed by Mr Combrink, the Head of the Geography Department at school. He also incorporated the concepts of ROLE MODELS and TIME MANAGEMENT in his presentation, making parents realise that their CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE. It is therefore imperative that parents act in the manner in which they would like their children to behave.
Parents analysed the ROUTINES that children must follow in the MORNING, in the AFTERNOON and in the EVENING. This exercise emphasised that children must get used to a routine, so that they can create ORDER in their lives, knowing when certain activities should be completed and therefore bringing order into their school lives.
Today’s workshop concluded with the following points:
· As parents, we are our children’s FIRST TEACHER;
· The role of the parent is far more than providing food and shelter;
· Children see; children do. The importance of being a ROLE MODEL;
· There is a time for everything: ROUTINE is so important in a child’s life;
· Parents play a very important role in helping their children, to do well at school and to complete school.
The material for this course was adapted from that previously issued to the schools by the GMSA Foundation, an NGO to which Lawson Brown was associated with its existence.
Positive responses from parents were received, with one parent acknowledging that he has a different perspective on parenting now, and realised that he should be involved in the Education of his child. He reiterated that famous words of Mr Cairncross, “Lawson Brown is not a dumping ground.”
Parents were sent off with a quotation from my mentor and educationist, Dr Nelson Mandela:
Education is the great engine to personal development.
It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor; that the son of a mineworker can become the head of a mine; that the child of a farm worker can become the President of a great nation.
It is what we make of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”
The Principal appreciates the attendance and participation of the parents who are core to these workshops. His appreciation also goes to Mr Combrink, Ms Mitchell (Grade 8 Head), Ms Esau (8D Base Teacher), and the Grade 11 Class Captains who assisted with the administration and serving parents with delicious snacks: Sinovuyo Mlambo, Zikhona Kwepe, and Sive Matebe.