Partnering with Parents

Partnering with Parents

Thursday, 5 September 2019  | Narelle-Principal

Last Saturday, our Board gathered together to begin the journey of re-imagining the Association’s strategic priorities for the next five years. It was a very fruitful time of discussion, of seeking God’s wisdom and direction for this school community and of fellowship together. We look forward to bringing some draft ideas to the broader Association at the EGM on Thursday 24 October.

One of the ‘non-negotiable’ priorities of Christian schools, especially MECS, and one re-affirmed on Saturday, was that of parent partnership and how this is worked out in the day-to-day operations, communications and life of the school. As such, I thought it was timely to once again remind us all, of why partnering with parents matters!

1. Why do we highlight parents?

We believe the Bible holds Christian parents responsible for the Godly upbringing of their children. This upbringing is not to be outsourced to others, especially to those who are not interested in biblical beliefs and values. For some parents this responsibility means they will provide all their child’s education through home-schooling. For other Christian parents this ‘outsourcing’ is formalised in the establishment of a community with other parents who form a ‘school’. Essentially, this is the story of how MECS and other Christian schools like ours came to be: Christian parents coming together to form a ‘Christian school’ for the purposes of partnering with that entity in the education of their children. Christian education doesn’t start with the school, it starts with the parents.

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 that 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. In our Association, this is most often expressed by the number of grandparents who are still members of our Association.

3. What is the partnership for?

The partnership is to do something radical: it is to educate children in the light of the 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 live life 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. 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’, 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 educational needs of all children within the most appropriate learning environment.

At MECS, we thank you for the ongoing partnership we enjoy with parents. If you would like to understand more about how this partnership can be expressed through being an Association member, contact Nicole, our Community Relations Officer.

(Content for some of this article has been sourced from an original article found in Nurture, March 2016 edition, written by Dr Ken D, the then CEO of Christian Education National).


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