Family Learning: Best Practices Across Europe
Luxembourg, 22nd and 23rd October 2015
Summary of presentations
Under the framework of the “Implementation of the European Agenda for Adult Learning”, the department of Adult Learning of the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth in Luxembourg is currently working on the promotion and implementation of Family Learning activities.
Organised by the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU on October 22-23, the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth in Luxembourg hosted the European conference “Family Learning – Best Practices Across Europe”.
Introduction and welcome
Luxembourg’s Secretary of State for National Education, children and Young People, Mr. Marc HANSEN, kicked off the conference, by welcoming the participants and stressing the role of parents and family in the education and training of their children. He furthermore explained the Luxembourgish context and why family learning has been put on the national agenda of education and training.
The introductory speech was complemented by Ms. Martina NI-CHEALLAIGH of DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. She gave an overview of the European context and the priorities of the Agenda Adult Learning for the second part of the decade.
Institutional framework (theory, concepts, policies)
The remainder of the morning session focused on family learning theory, concepts and policies and the opportunities it offers but also issues and challenges which need to be addressed.
In her presentation, Ms. Ulrike HANEMANN from the UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning, explained the concept of family literacy, its evolution and implementation and showcased some experiences from different countries around the world.
She was followed by Mr. Eric NEDELEC of the French Agence Nationale de Lutte Contre l’Illetrisme, who displayed the French concept of family learning (Action Éducatives Familiales). He highlighted the crucial role of parents and showed how the willingness to bring schools and other educational, cultural and social sites closer to the families can be turned into reality.
In the last speech of the Thursday morning session Ms. Margaret MURRAY (National Adult Literacy Agency in Ireland) gave a brief overview of NALA’s work on family learning and outlined how the www.helpmykidlearn.ie website is supporting parents to help their child learn.
After lunch, the focus of the presentations shifted to best practices.
Ms. Mary FLANAGAN presented the Irish Clare Family Learning Project. After a short history of the project, their interagency partnership approach was presented alongside practical resources and ideas for working with parents, which could serve as best practice examples.
The final presentation of day was held by Ms. Jeanne LETSCH and Ms. Sabine TONNAR-STOLTZ on the subject of parents-children interaction in literacy. More specifically they were displaying the Luxembourgish primary school project “sac d’histoires” (stories backpack) which has a triple objective: fostering literacy skills, bringing schools and families closer together and promoting openness towards other languages.
The last activity of the day was the market place where participant were given the chance to learn more about different projects in smaller groups and in a more interactive way. The following projects and issues were discussed:
- Family Learning in UK, NIACE
- Intergenerational Learning, Parents’ Association Baden Württemberg,DE
- Preparing Parents for 21st century Challenges - the European Parents' Association's engagement
- Parental Involvement as a key issue in early childhood education, Stichting Kleurrijke Scholen, NL
- Family Learning – using mother tongue, Municipality of Linköping SE
- The Parental School Janusz Korczak LU
- Pilot project, Department of Adult Learning Luxembourg
Friday’s session started off with a presentation by Ms. Susannah CHAMBERS (National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, UK) entitled “Research and Evidence about the needs and effects of family learning: Family Learning Works”. It highlighted key messages from a public inquiry into the value of family learning to society, shared best practices in family learning provision and indicated areas for further research and evidence about its impact.
The final presentation before the plenary session was held by Ms. Flemke Scheltinga from the Dutch ITTA institute on “success factors for interventions: Family literacy and Parental Involvement”, trying to answer the questions which interventions are indeed effective, how parents develop their own language and which approach stimulates parents the most to get involved with their children’s learning and to provide a richer educational environment at home.