Parents Reaching Out Grants

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School – Bancroft

Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board
Family Science Night

Parents Reaching Out grants help parents to identify barriers to parent engagement in their own community, and find local solutions to get more parents involved. Parents who are involved in their children's education help to support their children's achievement and well-being.

This video is part of a series that features successful parent engagement projects funded through the Ministry of Education's Parents Reaching Out (PRO) grants.

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Pat Flaglar Edwards [Principal, Our Lady of Mercy School]:

Family Science Night provided parents and students an opportunity to learn more about scientific principles in an interactive manner. Family Science Night was a bringing together of parents and students for an interactive evening of scientific exploration.

Tamara Kavanaugh [School Council Chair]:

The evening was a great success. It was well attended of course and we do believe that we reached some of our goals. The goals for the evening were to break down barriers so that parents felt more comfortable within the school system so that they could meet the school council so that new families to the school would feel welcome.

Tara McEnery [Parent]:

Family Science Night was great; it was a great opportunity for the kids to see some science activities that were really incredible, that we won't normally get to see in our community.

Pat Flaglar Edwards [Principal, Our Lady of Mercy School]:

We had over 120 people which is more than half of our school population. It was highly enjoyable, it was very interactive both parents and students were thrilled with their activities and excited and the hands on component went much longer than we thought it would be. It was almost difficult to get people to go home.

Tamara Kavanaugh [School Council Chair]:

You know as a parent that any time that children can have a fun and interactive time with Science or with any type of curriculum, it helps to break down those barriers and it gives them a sense of this isn't as hard or as drastic and it has real implications. We had a Hover Craft made of a leaf blower, we had the fellow blowing toilet paper across the room, it was fun, it was the elements of science that were brought together in a way that the kids enjoyed it and that the parents felt relaxed and had an entertaining time with their children.

Tara McEnery [Parent]:

As a parent I think it's really important that we bring in some of those science activities to our community that we wouldn't normally have access to. It's sort of the kind of thing that you would see at the Science Center or something in a city and it happened here for our kids. So I thought it was great.

Pat Flaglar Edwards [Principal, Our Lady of Mercy School]:

Yeah science is very important. My degrees are actually in science so no one had to persuade me of the importance of science and getting children involved in it at an early age and also realize it doesn't have to be all theory, it is very practical applications and we got to see some of those applications that evening.

Tamara Kavanaugh [School Council Chair]:

Urban schools have access to stuff within their area. We do not have science centers; we do not have access to museums or other things like that. What we do have is the ability to know that it's a value to our students and to know that getting outside of your rural area is an experience in itself and it's a learning experience that is necessary. And not a lot of families can afford that within our area, so if we don't do it as a school, then who does it?

Pat Flaglar Edwards [Principal, Our Lady of Mercy School]:

These types of meetings are vitally important for the school community. It brings the parents in in a non threatening way. For some of our parents school was not particularly positive experience so this allows them a night to come in and enjoy themselves, interact with the staff, interact with other parents who will have children the same age and also make them aware of opportunities in Bancroft for supports such as counseling services and families first.

Tamara Kavanaugh [School Council Chair]:

We did have community involvement within the school and the reason that we did that was to have also to break down those barriers within the community agencies so that it could be an interactive non restricted, non structured type of interaction with community agencies and we brought in the fish hatcher because of the science aspect of it, we brought in counseling services of Belleville and District and Families First because of the need that some parents might have and the fact that they can be able to put a face to an agency and it breaks down those barriers. We have the Bancroft Public Library here because of course reading is as important to science and it helps to facilitate people just to make those connections, to make those person to person connections and feel that they've, they are walking away with something that's important to them.

Pat Flaglar Edwards [Principal, Our Lady of Mercy School]:

We saw some positive outcomes from the evening, I would say there's probably been an increase in the volunteerism in the school, I think we broke down some barriers regarding parents feeling more comfortable coming in and working during the school day with students as well as give off the time and evening or weekend. Parent involvement is vitally important; they are their primary educators in every household and if we work together, then all students will achieve success.

To learn more visit: www.ontario.ca/EDUparents