Collaborating with Parents at the Children’s Academy
The following account was written by Kerline Janvier, Children’s Academy Co-Coordinator, and translated by Erik Dadger in January 2013:
Children’s Academy Co-Coordinator: Kerline Janvier
When the Children’s Academy was first starting, I noticed something. When parents would come to pick up their kids, it was a big problem. Students may not have their shoes on properly, or their uniforms might be a little dirty because they were playing outside, or they might not have drank the juice their parents sent them to school with. It was sad to see, but the parents would hit, or drag, or pull at them for this.
Mustering our strength, we said that we couldn’t allow this culture to continue, but instead need to work against it because it is not okay for children to grow up with their primary caregivers treating them this way. This required several meetings, some together as a group and some individually – especially with the parents we witnessed to be the most aggressive.
We always made great efforts to reach out to and collaborate with these parents. We did not attack them, tell them they were mean, or suggest that they didn’t love their children. Instead we sought to exchange ideas. Over time they began to see for themselves that this culture needed to change. As a result, we have one parent who set a goal to not use corporal punishment more than every three days with their children so that they can improve at engaging them through dialogue.
ADECA has started to see other significant results from this work. Some parents have already made major changes. When they come to pick their kids up the change appear clearly on their faces and in the tone of voices. If they’re not carrying anything, they sometimes even give the kids piggyback rides home. They also talk more about how they see their children motivated to learn when they come home, singing and telling all about what happened at school. Finally, if they attempt to use corporal punishment, the Children’s Academy students will point out that at their school, they don’t hit the kids.