Painting of Mother and Child

Parent & Family Involvement

"The image displays the close bond between a mother and child." -Visual Story by Alexander Angnaluak

by TakingITGlobal


  • Blaming parents & family members as sources of problem (related to addiction) without recognizing impacts of intergenerational trauma
  • Staff limiting opportunities for interaction and communication with parents and community members
  • Negative expression of the education system or programs from family or community members


  • Relationship building with families
  • Outreach and easy-to-understand communications to families from school to invite involvement
  • Fun, welcoming atmosphere with gatherings for all (i.e. community feast and celebrations, cultural events, etc.)
  • Children inspire learning for parents
  • Keeping family and community members updated on progress

Examples of Connected North Sessions

  • Sessions that support planning for community events
  • Educational sessions for parents and community members related to supporting needs of their children
  • Sessions featuring talents of students with parents present

What does the research tell us?

In developmental terms, major youth transitions (for example, leaving the parental home, moving into employment or post-secondary education, getting married, or becoming a parent) have been represented as periods of vulnerability and/or opportunity when much of an individual's life is in flux. Families, groups, and communities provide young people with support during these transitions in the form of extra attention, rituals, activities, or structured experiences to support successful transitions. Although there are several successful cases of positive social and economic transformation in Aboriginal communities, heartening instances of community healing, and exemplary experiences of individual and collective empowerment (Ponting and Voyageur 2005; Wuttunee 2004), statistical trends show that Aboriginal youth are more and more likely to live in lone-parent families, just as they are more likely to be part of a stepfamily or to live with a grandparent (with no parent present). Aboriginal people in Canada are also noted for having particularly.

First Nations recognize the vital role of parental involvement in education. Parents must participate in establishing the direction and goals of the education program. Active involvement of parents in school programs creates better understanding and cooperation between the education staff and the parents, in fact, the community as a whole.

What can we do?


Develop programming for the classroom that can be inclusive of parents (invite them into sessions).


Develop programming for parents (parenting classes, similar content for students but directed at older audience).


Assist students in designing and hosting community and family events.


Deliver programming that has a 'homework' component students must complete with their family after school.


Develop programming that focuses on transitional periods and helping students prepare for them (graduation, workforce, puberty, parenthood, etc.).

Explore the Well-Being Framework Elements

Culture, Language & Identity

Relationships with Peers / Students

Arts & Recreation

Hope for the Future

Food & Nutrition

Relationships with Staff & 'Authority'

Parent & Family Involvement


The conceptual framework, insights and content reflected here has been developed collaboratively by members of the Connected North team at TakingITGlobal inspired by the communities we partner with.

Special thanks to Alexander Angnaluak, Doronn Fox, Nyle Johnston, Nigit'stil Norbert, Dallas Pelly, Waukomaun Pawis, Magdalena Kelly, Chris McLeod, Jason Jones, Mitch Holmes, Shelton Nipisar, Kim Dymond, Andrea Breen, Michael Furdyk, Edgar Gonzalez, Peyton Straker, and Jennifer Corriero.

We gratefully acknowledge youth, educators, elders and leaders from Connected North partner communities who have graciously shared their experiences, hopes, challenges and feedback with our team. In particular, we appreciate active inputs towards this framework from the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

We would also like to thank Vani Jain and the team at the McConnell Family Foundation for their support as thought partners.

© 2022 TakingITGlobal and Alexander Angnaluak. All rights reserved. Contact for inquiries.