Heart-Mind Conversations for Parent Advisory Councils

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Families, schools and communities share the responsibility to work together to support children’s heart and mind learning. Parent Advisory Councils (PACs) are the official and collective voice of parents in schools. In BC, the role is legislated through the School Act. PACs are a great opportunity to engage, inform and empower families and school partnerships.  Research tells us that when families are positively involved in their children’s school experience, there is a positive effect on overall student achievement[1].

Typically, the business of a PAC includes volunteer activities, discussing concerns and aspirations for the school and giving input into school-based decisions. For schools who are committed to learning together and shaping home and school environments to make the biggest difference for children and youth, here’s a suggested schedule of Heart-Mind PAC Conversations. Integrate evidence-informed learning and dialogue[2] into PAC business on a regular basis.

The following links can be integrated into PAC meeting agenda and even included in regular parent newlsetters.

September

Start the new school year off with homework! Explore Heart-Mind Online and ask parents to share one resource that interests them. Include a broad conversation about Heart-Mind well-being.

  1. Kim Schonert-Reichl: Why Educate The Heart? (video)

  2. The 3 argument for a Focus on Well-being

Discussion Starter: How does our school already educate the hearts of children?


October

Discuss the resources suggested by parents from their “homework” and/or explore some popular resources related to stress!

Elementary/Middle

Secondary

Discussion Starter: What are the common themes of concern and of excitement among parents at the school?


November

Take a digital focus this month with information about children and technology.

Discussion Starter: How can we support parenting in the area of technology?


January

This month, resources provide inspiration and ideas for school wide ways to promote kindness and compassion.

Elementary/Middle

Secondary

Discussion Starter: How can we promote kindness and compassion as a key characteristic of our school climate?


February

February takes a look at the important role of family.

Elementary/Middle

Secondary

Discussion Starter: What ideas do we have to promote relationship building for families?


March

Learn from another parent's journey to create a strong foundation for successful parent advocacy.

Discussion Starter: What is our role as PACs to support parents and school staff to advocate for children?


April

Focus spring energy with some mindful activities.

Discussion Starter: What mindful practices do you do? What are the benefits to you and your family?


May

Wrap up the school year with all the Heart-Mind benefits of FUN!

Elementary/Middle

Secondary

Discussion Starter: How can we contribute to a fun and supportive school climate as the year winds up and to start next year?

 

In a meta-analysis of 77 studies involving over 300,000 students at both elementary and secondry levels. parental involvement has a significant impact across various populations. Second, not only does voluntary parental involvement have an influence, but parental programs do as well. The largest effect sizes emerged for parental expectations.

Do you need to convince others of the importance of promoting well-being?  Here is a resource with the three most compelling arguments for making Heart-Mind well-being a priority.

  • Secure and Calm

    Secure and calm describes the ability to take part in daily activities and approach new situations without being overwhelmed with worries, sadness or anxiety. To be secure and calm also means being able to cope with stress and pressure, and to bounce back from difficulties.
  • Gets Along with Others

    Getting along with others is the ability to form positive and healthy relationships with peers and adults. Children with better abilities to regulate their emotions and behaviours have more friends and experience more positive playtime with their peers.
  • Alert and Engaged

    Being alert and engaged is the ability to manage and direct one's own feelings, thoughts and emotions. In general, the ability to be 'present' and to exercise self-control.
  • Compassionate and Kind

    Being compassionate and kind is closely related to empathy. While empathy refers more generally to the ability to take the perspective of and to feel the emotions of another person, compassion goes one step further.
  • Solves Problems Peacefully

    Managing conflict effectively is about creating an atmosphere where violence and aggression are not likely. To resolve conflict means using empathy, problem-solving skills, understanding other points of view and coming up with ways to make things right in a fair way.