Families at Largymore Primary School graduated together this week from Save the Children’s Families and Schools Together (FAST) programme.
The Mayor of Lisburn, Councililor Thomas Beckett, awarded the certificates of achievement. Special guests included Community representatives from Resurgam Trust and family and friends.
Thirteen families completed the eight week programme which builds stronger bonds between parents, schools and communities, to make sure children get the support they need to shine at school.
Aine Kelly, Programme Manager for Save the Children in NI describes how the FAST programme supports parents, “One of the factors that influence a child’s success at school is the type of support and stimulation their parents provide at home. Another is the relationship parents have with their child’s school. That’s why FAST brings families and schools together, to help children fulfil their potential and improve their chances in life. Importantly, following completion of the FAST programme, 81% of parents reported feeling more able to support their child in his or her education. In a nutshell, this programme works – and we can measure it from our research with parents and schools.”
Principals and teachers have noted the fun and energy FAST brings to their school. FAST builds relationships between parents and children, schools and other parents within their local community.
Mrs Dunlop, Principal of Largymore Primary School said: “Introducing the FAST programme into the school has been a very rewarding experience for us. We have more parents coming in and playing an active role in their children’s education and it means that the educational outcomes for their children are better.”
There are many benefits of parental engagement programmes such as FAST. For example, one parent from FAST told us, “I am so happy my family got to take part in the FAST programme. I feel each family member benefited in different ways and as a family we have learned to spend more quality time together.”
FAST runs through eight-weekly sessions. During each session, children and parents take part in activities to improve educational outcomes and wellbeing, including eating a family meal together, family play, learning and communication activities and one-to-one parent-child support. Parents also have the chance to work on community-building and to take part in one-to-one sessions with other parents.