Parents Reaching Out Grants

Vaughan Willard Public School – Pickering

Durham District School Board
Family Literacy 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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Family Reading Nights were created to encourage families to read together with their children and to encourage the love of reading.

Marrion Baker [Teacher Librarian, Vaughan Willard Public School]:

We thought it was incredibly encouraging and positive for the students and the family because it was a way to showcase not just reading but the art that came, the creativity that came as a result of their reading is a reflection of what they are learning but it's also a way for the children to engage in other ways other than just writing and reading about what they've read. And so that the art that was around the school enhanced the whole esthetics of the building.

Tracey Dunseith [Co-Chair, School Community Council]:

At Literature Through Eco-Art was created to promote and encourage literacy and a lifelong love of learning and an appreciation for the environment through art. My children really enjoyed because they got to not only learn about different environments and different eco-systems but they got to participate in the gym with Cindy Cook who was here formerly of Polka Dot Door and they also got to do the art projects and they loved coming in the night of and they got to see what their friends had done and the teachers were all here. It was a very positive group project.

Marrion Baker [Teacher Librarian, Vaughan Willard Public School]:

Very early on we want the family to be involved in the activities of the school and how we are trying to encourage children to develop their literacy. And so part of the PRO Grant we have always made sure that any of the new families coming into the school with the kindergarten parents who are new to the school would be invited to this reading night. So it's a fun way to get the families of junior kindergarten age children to come into the school with their parents in a very low key setting and to participate in the activities of what we are doing here.

Tracey Dunseith [Co-Chair, School Community Council]:

The community involvement is great, the SCC is always a big contributor to our school so having the community involved, we had the public library come in which was also community involvement as well as parent volunteers and we also had the news advertiser come in which was also a very nice addition to sort of promoting the event. Because this is something that our school has done in the past the extra spin that we had with the literature through Eco–Art sort of was nice addition and people thought it was a fresh idea, the parents who came in loved it, the students really liked the performance in the gym and they had a good time so we did have positive feedback yes.

Marrion Baker [Teacher Librarian, Vaughan Willard Public School]:

We feel that a strong literacy background is important to all aspects of what children do and so having the family on board with that early on is really important for a child's development and therefore also their success in all aspects of the curriculum not just in reading.

Tracey Dunseith [Co-Chair, School Community Council]:

As a parent I truly believed in this event and was very proud to be part of this event because it's hard to incorporate parent volunteers within the school walls and this project allowed parent volunteers and teachers to work together and allowed the parents to come into the school to participate and be involved in something that was bigger than just curriculum. These activities are very important with getting parents involved in the school because they see that the Pro-grant, which is a Parent Reaching Out grant, that that money can get used towards something good that we are involved in. It's us who gets to plan what the activity is and because they got to see what a positive experience it was and that the staff was on board with something the parents wanted to do, it is definitely encouraging more volunteers in the school and is definitely encouraging more people wanting to volunteer for things outside of the school time.

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