It takes a village: Involving the community
Quality education extends beyond the classroom walls. It demands engagement of parents, officials, and interested institutional and corporate partners, especially those dealing with education and health issues.
The large number of parents and community members attending opening ceremonies of CSF’s multi-school project in rural Shaanxi Province amply demonstrated the potential for home-school and school-community programming.
To keep the parent and wider community informed of educational issues, school events, and the like, CSF helps schools launch a newsletter – Xiao Shou La Da Shou (Small Hands Lead Big Hands). Among other things, the newsletter provides a forum for teachers to share information with parents, for students to publish their creative writing, and for educators to communicate useful information of general interest. (Read the Chinese PDF version | Read the English PDF version)
School life and education are enriched by reaching out to largely untapped sources of community involvement. Recently, eighty students of the Xi’an Art Institute volunteered at our Shaanxi Province project schools to do art projects and paint interior and exterior murals with students. They are eager to expand these efforts.
Schools can be transformed into community centers. County officials in Shaanxi Province, for example, agreed to CSF’s proposal that newly installed sports facilities (baskeball/badminton courts and playgrounds) be open to villagers during non-school hours.
We are heartened by the many offers from university students all over China to volunteer as interns in rural school improvement programs during their summer holidays and after graduation. Our institutional partners, including Beijing Normal University (teaching college) and Northwest Agricultural & Forestry University further expand the circle of partners dedicated to assuring better futures for rural children.