Parents play a very important role in supporting student learning. Studies consistently show that students perform better in school if their parents are involved in their education. You need not be proficient in English to help and support your child in school.
Helping my child to learn English
To support EAL/D learners, parents are strongly encouraged to:
- read to their child, in the home language and/or English, on a regular basis
- encourage their child to develop and maintain active use of the home language
- become familiar with the
Australian curriculum and what their child is expected to learn at school
- involve their child in talking about his/her school experiences
- speak with their child's teacher or appropriate staff member whenever they have questions or concerns about the program or their child's progress
- attend parent-teacher interviews.
When visiting your child's school, you can make an appointment to speak to teachers by contacting your school's front office. If English is not your first language and you feel more comfortable speaking in your own language you can ask a family member or friend, who can help you communicate, to accompany you to the school. Alternatively, you can ask the school for an interpreter. Interpreters are organised through the
Translating and Interpreting Service. This service will not cost you any money.
Using your own language
It is important for parents to speak using the family's native language at home.
Children's first languages are closely tied to their identity. Encouraging ongoing development of first language eases the social and emotional transition that occurs when children move into new learning environments.
Continued use of the first language allows children to develop age-appropriate world knowledge and vocabulary without having to wait until they have learned enough of their second language to engage with such topics.
There is a strong body of research that indicates that students who have a strong foundation in their first language are likely to learn English more quickly and achieve greater success at school. It is difficult to build a second language if the first language foundation is not established and supported while the second language is being learned.
Helping my child with school
If your child is still learning to speak, read and write in English they are English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) learners and they are given extra support to help them with their learning.
All students in Australian schools learn the content of the
Because your child is learning English at the same time he/she is learning new content, learning tasks are modified to accommodate their level of English proficiency. As they learn more English, the kinds of support they receive will change.
Each school has its own homework policy. Homework provides students with opportunities to consolidate their classroom learning, develop good study habits and involve family members in their learning. If your child can't understand their homework, you should talk to the class teacher about it.
Reading books at home for fun and enjoyment is a very good homework activity. You can read to your children, or with your children, or they can read by themselves. Books can be in English or in your home language and can be borrowed for free from the school library or the local council library.
The contents of this webpage are available in the following languages.
Advice for parents —
Arabic (PDF, 220KB)
Chinese simplified (PDF, 399KB)
Chinese traditional (PDF, 404KB)
Dari (PDF, 220KB)
English (PDF, 322KB)
Farsi (PDF, 219KB)
Filipino (PDF, 197KB)
Japanese (PDF, 260KB)
Korean (PDF, 293KB)
Malayalam (PDF, 262KB)
Punjabi (PDF, 229KB)
Samoan (PDF, 195KB)
Sinhala (PDF, 269KB)
Somali (PDF, 198KB)
Spanish (PDF, 198KB)
Swahili (PDF, 197KB)
Thai (PDF, 239KB)
Torres Strait Creole (PDF, 197KB)
Vietnamese (PDF, 221KB)