This section of the website is devoted to resources and information about values education for parents. It contains information about the values education projects, links to parent partnership programs, and other resources.
All key stakeholders in the Australian education context have a strong commitment to values education. This is reflected in both the Adelaide Declaration on the National Goals for Schooling in the Twenty-First Century (1999) and the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (2008) which underline the importance of education in equipping students with values to enable them to face future challenges and to live healthy and satisfying lives.
Within the community at large there is growing discussion about how our children acquire their values and how they make sense of values promoted by the media and their peers. Parents, caregivers and families are the primary source of values education for their children, but they expect support from schools in this endeavour. Values education is an essential part of effective schooling.
The National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools was developed from the 'Values Education Study' (2003) and national consultation of a draft framework. The national framework was agreed to and endorsed by all the State and Territory Ministers of Education and distributed to all Australian schools in February 2005.
The framework recognises the values education policies and programs already in place in education authorities and Australian schools. It also recognises that there is a significant history of values education in government and non-government schools drawing on a range of philosophies, beliefs and traditions.
The guiding principles of the Framework recognise that in all contexts schools promote, foster and transmit values to all students and that education is as much about building character as it is about equipping students with specific skills. They also recognise that schools are not value-free or value-neutral zones of social and educational engagement.
Three of the guiding principles (see the framework for the other principles) specifically related to the wider school community say that effective values education:
- articulates the values of the school community and applies these consistently in the practices of the school
- occurs in partnership with students, staff, families and the school community as part of a whole-school approach to educating students, enabling them to exercise responsibility and strengthening their resilience
- is presented in a safe and supportive learning environment in which students are encouraged to explore their own, their school’s and their communities’ values.
Two of the key elements and suggested approaches (see the framework for other key elements and approaches) stemming from these guiding principles are:
- Partnerships within the school community
- Schools consult parents, caregivers and families within their communities on values to be fostered and approaches to be adopted (eg through school values forums).
- Values education involves the local school community in the development and teaching of values, drawing on the shared values that underpin Australia’s democratic way of life in the context of the local community and its values.
- Schools involve the school community in the implementation and monitoring of values education programs.
- Safe and supportive learning environment
- Students, staff and parents are encouraged to explore their own values.
- Students, staff and parents are encouraged to explore their own values.
The Values Clusters Projects, major values education grants projects funded by the Australian Government and involving schools on a national basis, are designed to foster and support improved values education practice in Australian schools.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies is an Australian Government statutory agency that conducts and coordinates research around matters affecting the family as the fundamental group unit in society. A recent briefing from the Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse is ‘Working with families concerned with school-based bullying’ by Dr Jodie Lodge, AFRC Briefing No. 11, 2008.
Books for Life are a selection of titles from Finch Publishing, an independent Australian publisher of books on family, health, relationships and society. The titles have been chosen to support teachers as they share with parents and the wider community the responsibility to meet children’s social and emotional needs.
Bullying among Young Children: A guide for parents is a publication from the National Community Crime Prevention program. The guide provides useful advice to parents and other carers of children aged 4–8 years on recognising bullying behaviours and its effects, with practical strategies to help children who bully and those who are bullied. There is also a separate guide for teachers and a DVD and video: 'Very Mixed Emotions – A Discussion Starter on Bullying in Childhood'.
NEW The Child and Youth Health website is part of the Children, Youth and Women's Health Service in South Australia. It links to the Kids Health site which provides help and advice on living a healthy, happy life for six- to twelve-year-olds, the Teen Health site for 12–17 year olds and the Young Adult Health site. The Kids Health site has a section for children on handling issues that might arise at school.
Cybersmart provides activities, resources and practical advice to help children, teenagers and parents safely enjoy the online world. Cybersmart also offers training and resources for schools and materials for library staff.
Every child needs a hero: A report tracking Australian children’s concerns and attitudes about childhood by Joe Tucci, Janise Mitchell and Chris Goddard, Australian Childhood Foundation, July 2006.
Family-School & Community Partnerships Bureau has been set up to help Australian schools, families and communities build sustainable, collaborative, productive relationships. The Australian Government has funded the Australian Council of State School Organisations (ACSSO) and the Australian Parents Council (APC) to run the bureau. It aims to maximise the engagement of families with their schools, across both the government and non-government school sectors.
Mission Australia: Social Policy Reports – youth issues. Mission Australia produces a number of reports on social policy. One of the areas covered is youth issues and includes 'National Youth Survey', an annual survey that reviews young people’s concerns, what they value and how they seek advice and support.
NAPCAN The mission of NAPCAN (National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect) is to advocate on behalf of children and young people and to promote positive change in attitudes, behaviour, policies, practices and the law to prevent abuse and neglect and ensure the safety and wellbeing of all Australian children. It provides positive parenting brochures and links to the SOSO: Smart Online, Safe Offline, Cyber Bullying site.
The Parents Jury is a web-based network of parents who wish to improve nutrition and physical activity environments for children throughout Australia.
NEW Raising Children Network, the Australian Parenting website, supports parents of children from birth to eight-years-old by providing them with information that can help with day-to-day decisions on raising children and looking after their own needs. There is information on connecting and communicating with your child and, in the ‘grown-ups’ section, there are case studies of ‘Parents like me’ reflecting, for example, parents of different cultures, Indigenous parents and parents of children with a disability. The Raising Children Network: Movie Reviews section provides recommendations, reviews and easy-to-understand classifications for the latest children’s movies. Values in the movie that could be reinforced with children are outlined.
Reach Out! is a web-based service that aims to improve young people’s mental health and well being by providing support information and referrals in a format that appeals to young people.
Resilience Education and Drug Information (REDI) is a drug information resource for Australian school communities. The website contains a comprehensive database of information about resources, policies and materials for drug education and incident management. There are specific sections: REDI for Parents; REDI for Tertiary Educators of Pre-service Teachers; and REDI resources for students, teachers and other members of the school community.
TeenMatters is a quarterly magazine dedicated to the parents of teenagers. It is published by Youth Off The Streets (a community organisation working for homeless and disadvantaged young people) and is for families from all backgrounds. Content covers a wide range of issues, including mental health, nutrition, cyber bullying and Internet technology, body image, shyness, friendships and relationships.
Youth.gov.au is the central hub of government information for young people.