Schools throughout the Cairns Diocese, along with their P&Fs, are creating parent engagement seminars with specialist guest speakers to help parents and carers navigate parenting in today’s world.
Parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual and parents often consciously and subconsciously parent in a similar way to their own parents’ style. But times have certainly changed, and today’s youth come with new challenges such as cyber safety concerns, social media, mobile phones, screen time and “the digital age”. We speak to Diana Sheedy, President of St Andrew’s Catholic College P&F about how our schools are supporting our parents through a series of parent engagement seminars and what the benefits are for student wellbeing.
What events has St Andrew’s Catholic College (STACC) held recently to support parents, carers and families in the Diocese?
In 2019, the STACC P&F Committee rolled out the first of our parent engagement seminar series. In partnership with the school, we sponsored notable speakers Fr Richard Leonard and Katherine Mair who spoke across each sector of our school environment; our children, staff, parents and wider community. Due to the success of these and the positive feedback we have received we are now securing speakers for each term of the school calendar year.
What feedback have you received from parents after these events?
After each parent engagement seminar event we conduct an exit survey to gauge our attendees’ general sentiment of the event, the topic chosen and to seek suggestions for future speakers. The results of the surveys to date and the strong attendance numbers, have validated the importance and value of this initiative.
How do these events help to foster a sense of community and positive school culture and why is it so important?
These types of initiatives are very important, for many different reasons. Our ultimate and uniting goal amongst parents, carers and staff is to improve the learning outcomes for our children. Research strongly indicates parent engagement is key to facilitating this. By educating the parent, carer and staff we are equipping them with knowledge of which the benefits then translate to our children’s overall wellbeing. These events also bring different members of our community together and encourage a sense of belonging. We allow time at the start of events for socialising over refreshments and further offer childminding so that we improve accessibility to these services for all our parents and carers.
Can you tell us more about the upcoming event: An Evening with Professor Br David Hall?
Professor Br David Hall, comes strongly recommended for his reputation of providing engaging seminars. The title of his talk is What sort of young people do we want for the future? He seeks to uncover what values should be at the centre of our children’s education so as to help them grow into solid citizens. This topic has such a wide appeal. It would interest educators, parents, carers, people of faith and non-faith.
This event, like our others in the past, is open to our community. We are fortunate that we have the facilities to accommodate our wider school community so we welcome all to register for the event via our booking link.
What’s next in the parent engagement seminar series that may be of interest to parents and carers in the Cairns Diocese?
The P&F Committee and our SAM (St Andrew’s Men) group are teaming up to bring our next speaker, A/Professor Richard Fletcher. His presentation will discuss strategies on how fathers can better engage with their children to optimise their learning outcomes. This is set to be a great event which will bring many different community members together. So save this date of 26th May 2020!
Early in term 4 the P&F along with the school look like to have secured a prominent author speaker – so stay tuned!
Find out more about An Evening with Professor Br David Hall at St Andrew’s Catholic College on March 10 and keep up-to-date with parent engagement events throughout the Diocese on the Catholic Education Diocese of Cairns Facebook page.