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What is this thing called Parent Partnership?

What is this thing called Parent Partnership?

Thursday, 29 June 2017  | Narelle - MECS Principal
Earlier this term, I had the privilege of attending the CEN (Christian Education National) AGM in Canberra. CEN is the national body that MECS belongs to, an organisation that provides resources and training to support Christian schools in the task of Christian education. At the AGM dinner, the previous CEO of the organisation, Ken, was honoured. 

Ken was a prolific writer, and in recent times, provided much of the contemporary thinking and language around the way our CEN schools run, with parental responsibility for their children’s education at the centre of the partnership between home and school. As this term ends, I have taken the liberty of quoting Ken’s very helpful article on this partnership. The original article can be found in the March 2016 edition of Nurture.

“What does partnering with parents actually look like?”

1. Why do we highlight parents?

We believe the Bible holds parents responsible for the Godly upbringing of their children. This upbringing is not to be outsourced to others, especially not to those who are not interested in godliness. For some parents this responsibility means they will provide all their child’s education. Yet even in home schooling the expertise and gifting of others is often sought. For other Christian parents this use of others’ gifts is formalised in the establishment of a community of other parents who form a ‘school’. I qualify school because ideally I believe it should look more like parents together in home education than an institution, which we may traditionally define as ‘school’.

2. Who is in the partnership?

In a Christian school community, parents do not just partner with other parents and their families. Rather they partner with other Christian Communities. These include other Christian schools and the churches represented by parents. This is often the most visible demonstration of Christian unity. Christian Education National (CEN) schools form a powerful partnership between like-minded school communities.

Parents also partner with teachers and staff who are employed to serve parents with their training and qualifications. The vision is for them to assist parents in what God has called them to do. Staff members carry out their service as employees and members of the community. They are not contracted by parents but are in a covenant community with parents! This is one reason why it is essential every staff member of our schools be a committed, growing Christian.

Many schools are also blessed to have other people committed to Christian education, (often directly through the school’s association), who don’t have children in the school but simply want to partner with parents to raise their children for the Kingdom of God.

3. What is the partnership for?

The partnership is to do something radical. It is to educate children in the light of the global good news about Jesus. Gospel education looks at the world and disciplines of knowledge through the lens of the Lordship of Jesus over “all things” (Colossians 1).

This is an alternate worldview to the one currently pervading education and schooling. We are not just educating our children so they can eventually make a living. Instead we educate so they can do a living to the full (John 10:10).

Our schools may not be totally different from others governed by different worldviews. We all live in the same world ruled by a loving God whether acknowledged or not. God’s truth is uncovered by all sorts of people and good insights into education come from many sources. All children in all schools will be studying the same creation (it’s the only one we have). Yet there will be a radical difference in the way we view this creation; in the purpose for life; in motivation for learning; and in how we use our learning.

4. How do we build a community of partnership?

Seeing parents as members of a covenant community, rather than as clients, should be our goal. The normal client expectations need to be turned upside down. A client asks ‘what’s in it for me and mine?’ the member of a covenant community asks ‘what’s in it for God and His people?’

A Christian learning community seeks first the Kingdom of God in education. Jesus says the other things that we are concerned about will be taken care of. As we seek God’s Kingdom, together in community, we care for the needs of all members. This especially means we diligently and faithfully care for the education needs of all children within the most conductive learning environment.”

All the staff at MECS look forward to continuing this partnership with you next term. Enjoy the next three weeks of school holidays with your families!
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