Project Articles

Nordplus Junior

Inspiration for Parents in Children’s Active Learning

16 March 2016 | Sweden
AUTHOR: Kåre Bach
collaborating countries: Latvia, Lithuania and Norway

”We want to inspire parents to take an active part in their children’s learning”

To increase reading comprehension among children, many different efforts are required. It is not only about school, but also about the parents’ influence and responsibility. Since August 2015, pedagogues and teachers from Latvia, Lithuania and Norway have been working together on a Nordplus Junior project to encourage parents to take an active part in their children’s learning.

“The public debate in Latvia is very much about the responsibility of the school and the teachers, and not so much about what the parents do. We know that parents play an important role in children’s learning and that is something we have focused on in our project,” says Edmunds Vanags, project team member from the Latvian educational organization Pasakas.

The objective of the project is to find ways to reach parents and to create understanding among them about the importance of taking an active part in their children’s’ learning. Research has shown that three factors have a large effect on children’s learning and reading comprehension: the family; the child’s teacher and school; and the educational system.

“Therefore, we want to find a lasting model that ties these factors together, to be able to work proactively regarding children’s learning. The model should be seen as a complement to regular curriculum and a support for preschools and schools in their contact with parents,” says Edmunds Vanags.     

From national to international

To increase the long-term results, the project has focused on younger children and on preschool and compulsory school. After analyzing Latvian research outcomes regarding reading habits at home for younger children, it was clear that this was a potential area in which to work with parents. In addition, studies such as PIRLS show that children coming from environments where parents start early with active reading perform better in school.

“The idea of an international cooperation project emerged when we thought about how to develop a model to continue working with. We believe that we can achieve more if we cooperate with others,” says Sabine Vilcina, project coordinator at Pasakas.

With this starting point, Pasakas applied to Nordplus Junior and got in touch with a school in Latvia and a preschool in Norway.  According to PISA-studies, the three countries have similar problems regarding low-achieving pupils and their reading comprehension.

“We hope to find a lasting common model that we can all use. To succeed, we need to tie research to the development of methodology which can then be implemented and supported by coaching activities,” says Sabine Vilcina.  

Inspiration and understanding

In the project, the idea is to produce different kinds of pedagogical tools and materials that can be used in both preschool and school to help parents contribute actively at home. During a test period, twenty parent pairs from each country will test and evaluate the model together with the participating preschools and schools.

The project has only been going on for two months, but the project members in the three countries already agree on what is important.

“The main idea with our work is to develop mutual understanding and cooperation between parents, preschool and school,” says Sabine Vilcina. “We want to inspire parents to take an active part in their children’s learning at an early stage.”

Project details 

Name of the project: ”The inspired reader: how to become one” 

Project coordinator: Ilguciems secondary school, Dzirciema 109, Rīga, Latvia

Contact information: Sabīne Vilciņa