In almost all learning institutions, visitation days are a vital part of the school calendar. Such days usually call for parents or guardians visiting their children at school and spending time with them and also interact with teachers.
Visitation days are mainly held with the aim of helping students reconnect with their families and for parents to interact with school administration as they discuss various issues.
Why is this important?
Mathias Nkeeto, a mathematics teacher at Green Hills Academy says through visitation days, parents get an opportunity to discuss and get information about issues such as the school’s progress in terms of infrastructure and the academic welfare of students.
He observes that it’s through such visits that teachers are provided with an opportunity to discern and evaluate the strengths and the weaknesses of the parent-child relationship.
Nkeeto also says that since some students rarely communicate to their parents about what normally takes place at school, or even bother to deliver vital messages to them as suggested by their teachers, such days act as convenient platforms for the school to reach out to parents in person thus delivering important information concerning the school.
Aminadhad Niyonshuti, an English teacher at Apapper Complex school in Kicukiro, Kigali is of the view that parent visitation days also enable parents to get in touch with what school life is really like for their children.
“Parents should take this opportunity to experience and explore, and most importantly understand that school is a safe place where their kids are taken good care of,” he says.
Depending on a school’s arrangements, Niyonshuti says teachers can as well use this chance to allow parents participate in some school activities as well as watch how their children interact in the classroom and with friends.
Another important aspect when it comes to such visits, he says, parents are able to know their children’s teacher personally which is very vital when it comes to creating a positive teacher-parent relationship.
He explains that at times parents feel uncomfortable with their children spending more time with people they don’t know personally, but such visits help clear these doubts and worries.
“Teachers always have a positive influence on the learners, so it is definitely imperative to know the other people that are in the lives of your children,” he adds.
Faustin Mutabazi, the chief executive officer at Educational Consultancy Bureau, an organisation that supports education and curriculum activities in Kigali says parental involvement in a child’s education is paramount on both sides.
In fact, he says this is important for any student’s success as far as education is concerned.
“If a parent obliges to such rules including taking part in visiting days, it shows how serious they are when it comes to playing their role as parents,” he says.
He also emphasises that such days are an opportunity for teachers to interact with both parents and their students.
Mutabazi notes that there has always been a positive correlation between the success of a school and the ratio of involved parents.
Not only does it help the child’s success, it also helps to keep the teachers and administrators accountable because of the established positive relationships, he says.
“Most importantly, parents shouldn’t forget that by observing and following such regulations, it sends a great message to their children. For instance, a child will be able to understand that their parents not only want them to succeed, but they are also active when it comes to their success,” he says.
“Of course, attending visitation days alone would not be enough to continuously convey this message; however, it is definitely a start. The sacrifice and investment in your children is never in vain,” he adds.
Nkeeto notes that visits show children that they are loved despite the physical separation from their parents.