A conversation at the engaging Teach the Future Adult Advisory Board the other day brought to mind research on schools sending youngsters home in the hope of positively influencing parental environmental actions. What follows is from memory which might be awry. The research I thought of specifically was carried out by David Uzzell from Sussex (and colleagues), but there were also Australian studies as well I recall.
One citation is probably: Uzzell DL, Davallon J, Fontes PJ, Gottesdienner H, Jensen BB, Kofeod, J, Uhrenholdt, G and Vognsen, C (1994) Children as catalysts of environmental change: report of an investigation on environmental education. Brussels: European Commission
Memory says that school to home interventions work most effectively where (in no particular order):
- parents are already interested in the issues
- there is a home culture of child – parent discussion of significant contemporary issues
- parents are already actively interested and involved in their children's education and learning
- parents feel positively about the school / education
- parents are used to working with their children on school-set tasks
- there is a good relationship between parent(s) and child(ren)
This won’t surprise you at all. And if you make all the above 6 points negative, you will readily see how challenging the whole thing can be where such conditions don't exist.
Again from memory, the Australians warned against sending children home with an agenda that might get them into trouble and / or a clip round the ear. It's not the trouble-free route to a more sustainable world that some might think.