Home-note program reinforces social skills instruction

iStock_000007173732XSmallA simple way to involve parents in the social skills instruction of their children is a home-note program that informs them what social skills their children are learning in school and suggests home activities to reinforce what the child is being taught, says a recent study in Education. While many agree that schools should attend to the social needs of children, social skills instruction programs have been criticized for lack of generalization.

“One way schools may be able to improve the generalization of social skills is to include parents in the processes of instruction and reinforcement,” write researchers from Brigham Young University.

Researchers surveyed parents, teachers and students at a school that had been providing social skills instruction as part of its school-wide positive behavior support program for the last 7 years. One social skill was taught or reviewed in a series of lessons delivered each month. Monthly notes home informed parents about the skill being taught and encouraged them to teach the skill at home and give children opportunities to practice it. Parents had to sign the note and give it to the child to return to school.

In evaluative surveys of the program, 75% of parents reported that children enjoyed the home note activities and 91% of parents thought the notes should continue the next year. Over 90% of parents thought the home notes helped facilitate communication with their children and that they considered it important to know what social skill was being taught in school.

Teachers responded favorably but less enthusiastically to the home-note program. The researchers recommend making a home note program as agreeable as possible for teachers.

“Parent involvement in school-wide social skills instruction: Perceptions of a home note program,” by Michael Adams et al., Education, Volume 130, Number 3, pps. 513-528.

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