Parents First

Parents and children learning together

By: Kay Jarvis , Garry Burnett


Or purchase digital products from our partners:


Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 234mm x 187mm
Pages : 152
ISBN : 9781904424130
Format: Paperback
Published: March 2003

We all want our children to reach their fullest potential in life and studies now show that children become more successful when their parents are active learning partners. Head teachers report marked improvements in the attainment and behaviour of the children whose parents get involved in the learning process. Parents First has bags of support and practical advice for schools and parents, offering a head-start in understanding the skills children need to think, planand learn more effectively.

The book contains an accessible range of activities and information designed to investigate topics like effective questioning, new methods of solving problems, and boredom-free study skills. Learning that learning can be fun when using a variety of media and strategies, parents are introduced to the concept of multi-sensory teaching methods that give them practical ways to become the active learning partners their children need.

After encountering Parents First, parents feel able to communicate more effectively with their children, resulting in more meaningful family relationships.

Picture for author Kay Jarvis

Kay Jarvis

Kay Jarvis was a tutor in the faculty of Health and Social Care at the University of Lincoln, where she spearheaded the Parents and Children Working Together Project. She regularly ran training courses for parents on lifelong learning skills, and was a high school governor. Kay now spends her time on research, travel and writing.

Picture for author Garry Burnett

Garry Burnett

Garry Burnett has been an English teacher, advisor and advanced skills teacher (AST) and a lead practitioner and head of department for over 35 years. He has written and lectured extensively on teaching and learning, creativity and parenting all around the world.

Now focused on his own original creative writing, he is currently engaged in producing Turn and Face the Strange, the hit show about the Hull-born musician Mick Ronson, and the screenplay Moonage Daydream, telling the story of David Bowie and Mick's musical collaboration. .


  1. Parents First is full of first-class ideas for parents AND schools working in partnership to support the learning of children.

    Rarely do you find such an accessible book which can be used by parents and schools alike.
  2. As a student teacher about to embark on the planning stage of my disseration writing, in which I am researching multiple intelligences, I was desperate to find a book that looked at this issue of learning in a factual and jargon busting format. Having just purcahsed Parents First I've discovered this book is fantastic!! Not only has it given a heightened inspiration to my writing, it also offers insight into other areas of learning in a jargon busting format. Please congratulate the Authors on their book and give them my thanks. I have ordered a further two copies to be sent out to frinds, who are also teachers, to show them how fab this book is. I will be recommending it to my college to be listed on our reading list.
  3. `Parents are a child's first and enduring teachers.`

    (DfEE"Excellence in Schools) This quote in the Foreword is the rationale for this book. As the title indicates, the book is written for parents, although I think it could be useful for teachers and students as well. It comes out of recent work with parents, teachers and children (in Kingston upon Hull and the University of Lincoln). The book is based on the premise that almost all parents are concerned about their child's learning and development but often need information and advice on how best to support this. The purpose of Parents First is to give parents an understanding of the different learning processes and theories as well as practical advice. In this way, parents and their children can gain more confidence, skills and self-esteem. A wide area of knowledge, skills and understanding is covered in the book which includes chapters on effective communication, mind maps, learning styles, multiple intelligences, memory and recall. There is also a large section on solving problems and a tantalisingly short chapter on learning to spell! The format and language is accessible and easy to follow, making the whole book manageable. The chapters are well split up and have a useful summary at the end. Parents First gives a good range of practical activities and exercises for parents to do on their own and with their children (always supposing that teenagers are amenable to joining in!) These activities are well balanced with reflection on the different learning processes and the best situations for learning. The book would also be a valuable reference for teachers/teaching assistants to work from with parents and children. The whole tone of the book is upbeat and positive, encouraging attitudes of advocacy, support and persuasion that adults need to have when they are learning and working with children.
  4. Being an effective parent is one of the most rewarding and challenging tasks in life. This book provides advise on how you can help your child achieve.

    The skills it introduces you to serve as guideline in building not only a happy home life but in helping your child to achieve success at school.

    It provides parents with a platform so that your family can work, play and grow together. It also opens opportunities for promotion of more positive links between parents and teachers allowing them to work together towards a common goal of greater pupil success.

    I have no hesitation in recommending the book to our School Board and suggest that local libraries may wish to obtain copies.

    Other points to note:

    • Nicely laid out

    • Very user friendly

    • Easy to dip into

    • Diagrams visually good

    • Wide range of useful tools

  5. Research shows that support from parents is the single most important driver for pupils' success at school. We don't know what people may need to learn in the future but if children are motivated and understand how to learn, they will be well-equipped to deal with whatever life holds for them. This book will help parents to support their children in learning how to learn and developing as confident, successful lifelong learners.
  6. This book is a must for all parents of school age children. It has long been acknowledged that parents are the first educators of their children and research clearly demonstrates that children are more successful at school when supported by their parents.

    Written by parents Garry Burnett and Kay Jarvis, Parents First provides the guidance and understanding needed to encourage happy, active learners and offers tips on how to support children through the challenges they may face during the course of their education.Parents First will give confidence to those parents, who like so many have had negative experiences during their own schooling and still feel intimidated by the education system.

    The user friendly format interlaced with humour examines how children can be supported to develop self esteem and confidence, how to communicate effectively as well as explaining how the brain functions, how to recognise your child's learning style and problem solving and memory skills.
  7. Useful to trainee teachers ” lots of ideas to help develop teacher/parent links
  8. As teachers we are regularly asked by parents "How can I help my child with their school work and homework?" We are delighted that they are interested enough in their child's learning to ask the question, but how on earth do we begin to answer it? Invariably we focus on one small thing of immediate relevance to the topic being taught at the time and hope that the parents will understand what we mean.

    Well, from now on, all you need do is recommend this book. It is full of sound, practical advice as to how parents can help with their child's learning. It is a very readable book and the suggestions are easy to follow and are offered in a variety of learning styles. The everyday stresses of being a parent are acknowledged, as are the everyday expectations of today's youngsters. Everything is treated in a positive way, for example in the chapter on Effective Communication it details how to achieve a win-win situation for both parent and child. The text is also interspersed with quotes and reminders such as, "Mistakes are opportunities for learning' and "Success comes in cans, not can'ts.

    The first chapter deals with confidence and self-esteem and offers check lists and exercises. Chapter 2 addresses communication and questioning, not only between parent and child but also between parent and teacher. Again there are exercises and examples. Chapter 3 is short, but pertinent, dealing with the essential conditions for learning, that of environment and physical needs. The next chapter is entitled "Building a healthier brain for learning' and is not only rich with ideas but also tells you, in simple language, why they are good. Chapter 5 offers practical strategies and is a good introduction to Mind Mapping®. The following sections cover learning styles and multiple intelligences, asking "How is your child intelligent?' and explaining what these intelligences look like, how to assess which ones both you and your children have and how you can use them to help your learning. The chapter on solving problems is a real chunky chapter and there is a danger of the reader becoming bogged down and switched off. Some examples are also very specific and whilst there is more than one right answer they are quite likely to put parents off unless the parents are confident with the subject and have the required knowledge. The remaining chapters cover various memory techniques, some good and some rather complex ideas for helping with spelling and a good, succinct summary on making learning effective.

    All in all, an excellent book for parents and a good read for teachers too being both informative and enabling consolidation of knowledge.
  9. As a life long learner when I was asked to review this book, my immediate reaction was “how could I review such a book given the fact I have chosen not to have children?” However, on entering into the world of learning as Garry and Kay have presented it, the book is clearly written with the idea of creating win/win for both parents and children. As someone who co-created and developed a programme that allows adult learners to get in touch with their biology for learning effectively, it is interesting to note that the initial stages of research on Rapid Sensory Learning for Studying and the conclusions of “Parents First” are one and the same. Techniques are great, however learning is without a doubt a “people' based and success is based on people feeling confident in their skills and who they are as a human being.

    Self esteem comes from self confidence and both of these are sadly lacking in today's society as many adults themselves have neither. Thus Garry and Kay have recognized the importance of having parents take responsibility for their children's learning instead of relying on a system whose focus is solely on academic achievement instead of a balance between life skills and academic achievements. It is interesting to note that businesses who recognize their employees potential as people first have the highest productivity and happiness in the work place. The same applies within educational facilities. By encouraging parents to be part of their children's learning ” both parent and child are creating stronger bonds of love through better communication, effective understanding and more importantly tolerance of differences.

    The book is filled with practical techniques, tips and inspirational quotes and thoughts from people past and present. However, the real gem of the book is the understanding that a values based educational system will naturally bring about academic achievement because the students are first and foremost listened to, appreciated for their abilities and talents, encouraged to become integrated human beings in mind, body and spirit and lastly to know they can make a difference to their relationships, their community and the world at large.

    A bold book that is prepared to step outside the box of rules and regulations laid down by “powers that be' and to encourage parents and children to reconnect through our natural desire for learning, to feel connected to others and to believe we can make a difference by being successful in all areas of life.

    A must read for all people who are willing to listen to their hearts and desirous of making a better world by understanding that education is useless unless we all appreciate our differences and choices in learning, skills, values and expression. My congratulations to the authors for their passion and belief that just because the system no longer supports educators and children, that there is always a way to find a solution and their love for learning, making a difference and serving others without a doubt shines through in this book of win/win.
  10. This is a timely publication in that schools are beginning to take on board some of the recent findings from brain research which confirms what many educators have known all along ” that the how of learning is far more important than the what. As the title suggests, it is targeted at parents and is basically a well-informed and entertainingly presented introduction to accelerated learning and its related fields.

    As such, it is likely to be of interest to parents who are open-minded about how children learn, and are willing to explore their own attitudes to learning. The authors rightly acknowledge the importance of the emotions in learning and chapter one is all about developing confidence and self-esteem. OK, those words have become so over-used in schools that they have almost lost their meaning, but that says more about the process of education than it does about what those words represent. There are lots of useful, easy to implement practical suggestions that can be introduced in a casual, informal and ” dare I use the word? ” fun way; for example, by asking the child in what ways Spain is like Greece, and then extending the activity by asking for connections between things that appear initially to have nothing in common.

    Much of the material will be familiar to old lags like me (I used to use the nine dots problem in maths teaching in the early eighties), the reason being that this isn't really new, its just about teaching children to think. There is a chapter devoted to developing thinking skills, using lateral thinking type puzzles which really do appeal to the vast majority of children. There are games that can be played in the car on long journeys, like we used to do long ago before they started selling cars with TV screens built into the backs of the front seats. It is a real strength of the book that the activities are not only good for developing thinking and self awareness, but I would imagine could be extremely helpful in developing family bonding.

    The section on memory again includes lots of practical and entertaining ways of improving memory skills, using mnemonics and visual, auditory and kinaesthetic associations.

    Forward thinking schools will, I hope, buy lots of copies of this book and sell them on to parents. I would suggest to the publishers that this would be the most effective means of getting it to parents; an evening for parents about Learning to Learn with copies of this book for sale would certainly have been pencilled into my autumn term diary if I was still a head teacher. The rub lies in how well up the local school is on all this; if they aren't then they should be asked why not.
  11. Guidance for parents exploring practical ways to help children learn effectively.

    These include developing confidence and self-esteem; effective listening and questioning; creating an effective learning development: building a healthier brain for learning; and improving memory, recall and spelling. In two parts 1. Thinking About Thinking -reflections on how parents can support learning. 2. Learning About Learning - practical strategies for parents to use. Challenges parents to rethink some habits such as listening to a child, admitting you don't know, asking open questions, and praising more than criticising. Describes the kind of lifestyle at home that will lay the foundations for success at school. Sets out steps that lead to a positive and supportive relationship with one's son or daughter. Instructs on mind mapping, the structure of which resembles the way in which the brain makes associations and links between ideas. Not only does the speed of mind mapping avoid inhibiting creativity, but the process itself seems to assist with the generation of new ideas.

    Further chapters deal with learning styles, multiple intelligences, solving problems, memory and recall, helping a child learn to spell and making lessons effective. The book developed out of Garry Burnett's teaching of the Learning to Learn programme in the Hull school he taught in - a course for children that helps them understand how they learn - and Kay Jarvis's course, Parents and Children Working Together, which she has run at schools in the Hull area for the last four years.
  12. This book is designed to help parents, who may not have had a very positive experience of school themselves, help their children to enjoy learning - and realise in the process that they too can learn to learn in an efficacious way. Recent research carried out at the London School of Economics has shown that having a parent who takes an active interest in their child's learning is eight times more important than wealth or social class in terms of achieving good examination results.

    The book explains some of the key current research about how the human brain works and provides practical advice on how to apply that research to learning and studying in school. It also covers practical aspects of effective learning, such as developing self-confidence and self-esteem, effective listening and questioning, creating an effective learning environment, building a healthier brain for learning and improving memory, recall and spelling.
  13. Reading Parents First is a must for parents wanting to contribute and participate in their children's education. It's easy to read and full of great ideas on how we can all ignite the learning spark in our own families.
  14. I wish there had been a book like this when my children were young!

    Parents First gives you all the guidance you need to help your child become a successful and happy learner. It's full of practical tips and easy-to-use suggestions for:

    • improving self-esteem, confidence and intelligence

    • thinking clearly and creatively

    • tackling tasks

    • answering questions well

    • encouraging good memorising and spelling habits

    • passing tests and exams

    But there's more! Kay and Garry explain how children learn. They help you to recognise your son's or daughter's unique talents and learning style and they tell you exactly what your child's brain needs to function fully.

    Parents First is exciting, but it's also challenging. It asks you to rethink some of your own habits such as listening to your child, admitting you don't know, asking open questions, and praising more than criticising. It describes the kind of life-style at home that will lay the foundations for success at school. And it sets out the steps that lead to a positive and supportive relationship with your son or daughter, even in those tricky moments ” like when their bedroom is untidy ... again!

    With its checklits, its down-to-earth activities for the kitchen and car, its helpful hints and its useful summaries, Parents First is a treasure trove of practical ideas for every parent who wants their child to be a successful and confident learner both at school and at home.
  15. Helping your children succeed and be happy at school is not easy when you have bad memories of school yourself. But negative situations can be turned around, and this is the aim of a book called Parents First published by Crown House Publishing.

    Authors Gary Burnett and Kay Jarvis, who have both worked with and for children for many years, explain in no-nonsense language how parents can help their kids to get the best out of school and the best out of themselves. Their advice offers parents a deeper understanding of how they can be more confident themselves and so support their children more fully, no matter what their own school experiences were.

    They then discuss how to cope with day-to-day difficulties like timely completion of homework, the pressure of tests, and building positive relationships with others - things that often prove too much for children without practical and effective support at home.

    • Very interesting book.

    • Very supportive for parents, giving them lots of very good ideas.

    • Good for dipping into as and when the need arises.

    • Lots of tips and hints that are easily remembered.

    The intro is very true ... most parents are very interested in their child's education and development, but, in many cases, they just are not sure how to be truly supportive. This book gives parents the confidence to positively support and enhance their child's development.

    And, we say that as a Headteacher, and a Reception Class teacher

Write your own review