Saturday, November 5th, Excel family and Youth Society partnered with Parents for Choice in Education and administered a workshop targeting parents within the Ethiopian and Eritrean community. Aside from the Excel Founder, our guest speakers included staff and volunteers of Parents for Choice in Education. The main goal of the workshop was to educate on the assumed right of parenting children and the right to gain awareness of what is taught in the classroom.

A lawyer spoke on the legal rights of parents in the court of law, understanding our fundamental rights through the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the foundation of this country, our privileges and the importantance of being aware of those rights as parents. We had an award winning journalist who spoke on the updates in the educational system, including the new tool within the Alberta Teachers’ Association toolkit. This tool aims to create an environment where the LGBTQ community feels safe and included. The tool touches on LGBTQ issues and lessons administered to students in Grades 7-12. Teachers are given the choice of using the toolkit, using gender neutral language, LGBTQ terminology and analogies that traditional or faith based students and parents may disagree with or that may go against their values. The blogger indicated that if a teacher decides to use this tool, students in Grades 7-12 do not have the option of opting out because the toolkit can be administered in subjects such as math, biology and religion, subjects students cannot withdrawal from. Finally, we had an elementary school teacher from Edmonton encourage parents to establish better relationships with their children’s teachers. Furthermore, parents should be speaking with their children now, more than ever, about what they learn in school. She reminded parents to ask if their children are confused about what goes in inside and outside the classroom.

Usually during the spring, health related topics such as sexual education and sexual orientation are taught to children. Parents have the right to withdrawal their children from learning topics if parents do not want their children to learn about these topics at school. Parents are encouraged to speak to their children about what they learn in school and to ensure their children bring home documents and waiver forms they receive at school. Children may forget to show their parents documentation which provides information about what children are being taught; topics that may be sensitive or perhaps topics that parents do not want their children engaging in. The workshop reminded parents to have conversations with their children about topics that go against their traditional or faith based beliefs; namely sexual education and sexual orientation topics. Ultimately, parents know their children best and know what their children should be learning and how it should be conducted based on their children’s maturity level.

Parents were encouraged to go beyond the comfort of their homes by being intentional when speaking to teachers and staff about what is learned in the classroom. When parents form relationships with their children’s teachers, parents then can continue the learning with their children at home. Finally, parents should be confident the school their children attend should be in alignment with the values and interest parents hold for their own children.

Overall, the seminar was a great success, attendees were able to ask questions during the Q&A and there was an opportunity to network and get connected with the community.  We thank the staff and volunteers of Parents for Choice in Education for sharing their passion to provide excellence in education for children through maximum parental choice.

If you would like to learn more about Parents for Choice in Education visit their website at http://parentchoice.ca/. To learn more about the vision of Excel visit our website at http://excelfamily.ca/services-latest/

 

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