We ran a series of online discussion events (‘PIECE Talks’) with parents and education practitioners in May 2022. These focused on understanding how fathers support their children’s learning, the help fathers want and receive, and any challenges.
We know, from existing research, that parents’ early childcare involvement is important for children’s development – but much of this evidence is based on research conducted with mothers or parents more generally. We know less about whether and how fathers’ impact on their children’s development – even though fathers have an equally important role to play in the care of their children!
Who did we speak to?
We spoke to fathers who have at least one child under the age of 12, and who are from a diversity of backgrounds (including, but not limited to, biological/non-biological parents, those in two parent or single parent families, parents that live with their children full or part-time, or not at all).
We asked about what fathers do, what support (if any) schools, nurseries and other family services offer and whether there are particular challenges to fathers’ (and mothers’) involvement in their children’s care and learning.
We also spoke to teachers, heads and other school staff with a role in parental engagement, early years managers and staff, people from organisations and projects with an education focus and companies/ projects using technology to support parent-school relationships.
Why did we hold the PIECE Talks?
The ‘PIECE Talks’ have helped to inform our wider study, which explores links between fathers’ involvement in everyday educational and caregiving activities, and children’s progress at primary school. The care and support fathers provide is wide-ranging and might include helping with homework, or simply playing a game or going out for a walk. We wanted to find out what dads do and feel is important. We also wanted to hear about the support schools and nurseries provide.
When and where did the PIECE Talks take place?
We held the PIECE talks online (using Zoom) with fathers, and schools/ early years settings/ the education sector to share some of our early project findings, and to hear different perspectives and experiences around fathers’ childcare and school involvement. They have fed into our resources for schools, early years settings and families. We audio recorded the sessions, but only for transcription purposes and everyone’s contributions have been anonymised.
The PIECE Talks ran as follows:
- Fathers: 16 May at 7.30pm – 9pm
- Education sector: 19 May at 12pm – 1.30pm.
Download a PDF version of our flyer for the events (this includes an invitation for a mother-focused event, which we were unable to hold, below…
Image: “Parents’ evening at school…” by Fresh On The Net is marked with CC BY 2.0.