Parent-teacher mediators are familiar with the school systems in both their country of origin and in Germany, allowing them to assist newly arrived families in adapting to the changes.
language barriers PRESENTS CHALLENGES
According to the State Statistical Office, 15% of the population of the Heilbronn district are foreign nationals. Currently, around 53,000 foreign nationals live in the Heilbronn district. Arriving in a country without knowledge of the local language presents a whole range of challenges. To take just one example, parents can end up missing out on communication from teachers concerning the development and education of their children. Volunteer Parent-Mediators address this issue by stepping in to overcome language barriers between educators and parents.
PARENT-TEACHER MEDIATORS BRIDGE THE GAP
Long-term integration and improved quality of life for immigrants depends heavily on the education and prospects of families and their young children. Mediators play a key role in helping immigrant families to find the right schools for their children, and in ensuring ongoing communication between parents and schools or nurseries. The volunteer Parent Mediators all speak German as well as at least one other language, and are familiar with the workings of the education systems in Germany and their country of origin. This shared back- ground and language is crucial to establishing lasting bonds with parents.
CREATING TRUST AND CLARITY
The role of the parent mediator goes beyond that of an interpreter. They also assist in avoiding miscommunication due to cultural differences, and answer parents’ questions concerning the local school system. All of this helps to ensure that children receive the support they need for a successful education. Mediators are a novel way of increasing communication, trust and mutual understanding. They have become key support figures for parents and educators alike, helping them to overcome fears and concerns, and establishing clarity and trust. This lays the groundwork for lasting integration.