Their learning becomes your journey: Parents respond to children’s work in creative partnerships

Safford, Kimberly and O'Sullivan, Olivia (2007). Their learning becomes your journey: Parents respond to children’s work in creative partnerships. UK: Centre for Literacy in Primary education.



The research elicits parents’ views of what constitutes a creative curriculum and parents’ responses to the creative schools agenda, and draws upon extensive findings from questionnaire and interview data. When children are engaged in short- or long-term creative projects they extensively describe these experiences at home and these home discussions appear to influence parents in a number of ways. Some parents feel they understand more about what their children are learning in school, and they begin to develop perspectives on their children as learners and on what constitutes learning in and out of school. Children’s enthusiasm for creative projects also causes some parents to become critical of the core curriculum, and they perceive creative programmes as offering alternative long-term benefits which positively influence children’s aspirations as well as their learning.

In terms of their involvement in the school itself, creative programmes offer low-risk invitations which encourage some parents to engage with teachers and the whole school, in some cases taking on employment at the school as a result of initial involvement in creative projects. Such projects also involve some parents in social networks of other adults in the wider community. Whilst some parents may lack confidence to support their children in literacy and numeracy, they feel able to extend creative programmes at home by working alongside children and visiting cultural centres such as galleries and theatres. Finally, children’s engagement with creative programmes leads some parents to reflect on themselves as learners and to take-up cultural and other learning opportunities for themselves as well as for their children. The data suggest that the benefits to children of work in school-based creative partnerships have a positive impact on parents as well, and that creative partnerships offer strong models for developing and sustaining wider family learning as well as parental involvement in children’s learning

Funded by Creative Partnerships.

See also:

O’Sullivan, O, and Safford, K. (2008) Creative projects: getting parents involved London: Creative Partnerships and Centre for Literacy in Primary Education

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