The working family – with parents otherwise known as the Super Parents – is on the rise in Penrhos College’s thriving community.

In a cultural shift focused on gender equality, more fathers are becoming involved in shared parenting roles and more mothers are returning to work to achieve the dual income which is often necessary to give their daughter/s the opportunity of private schooling.

Important support areas relevant to working families include parental leave, flexible work arrangements and before and after-school child-care solutions, to help alleviate the overall challenges Super Parents face as they endeavour to cope with both work responsibilities and child-care demands.

So, what more can schools do to help?

To both work and parent is never about a balance, but rather a frantic juggle. In today’s pressured economic climate, WA families are working twice as hard to ensure the best opportunities for their children. Penrhos recognises the needs of our working families and is committed to empowering parents who face the daily challenge of meeting both the expectations of their employers and their children, juggling meetings around school drop-off and pick-up, managing deadlines around parent assemblies and events etc.

Penrhos’ extended learning hours takes some pressure off with drop-off and pick-up times from 7am to 6pm, through out-of-hours child-care provider Camp Australia.

Camp Australia provides an engaging and extended learning environment on campus for K-6 students who are entertained and stimulated under the care of professionals whilst parents top and tail their working day or battle peak-hour traffic. Camp Australia also runs excellent holiday programs, so children can enjoy the facilities and freedom to play in a familiar environment outside of term-time.

Secondary School students are encouraged to use the Library for quiet study time if after-school pick-up is not possible. Our 21st Century Library Learning Space is open from 8am – 8pm Monday – Thursday and 8am – 6pm on Fridays with a Teacher Librarian to assist students; Tutors from Learning Enhancement are also available to work with students by appointment.

Penrhos Library

To ensure Penrhos remains future-focused and relevant in the context of shared parenting, the College liaises closely with parent support group Menrhos (specifically for dads) under current parent, Chair and Foundation member Simon Woods. Menrhos promotes the proactive presence of the father figure in modern families, encouraging dads to be more involved in their daughters’ learning and development through a range of opportunities across the College calendar.

“School years are such a precious time,” says Woods “and dads have an important role to play in helping their daughters to successfully navigate the many challenges they will face.”

In most communities, two-working-parent families are no longer exceptional but expected. “Schools should not only support their students, but also their parents,” says Penrhos Principal Meg Melville. “With attitudes towards work and family shifting, we want to empower our parents to achieve in all aspects of their lives, not add to the feelings of guilt we know are frequently experienced as they do their best to multi-task,” said Melville.

Penrhos continues to pioneer a progressive approach to partnering with parents, in keeping with a commitment to leading the field, slaying stereotypes and having the courage of its convictions. With extended care hours and Parent Support Groups like Menrhos, Penrhos is dedicated to supporting the entire family.

We warmly invite you to discover our College at the upcoming Early Years Open Morning. Early Years Open Mornings provide families entering Pre Kinder to Year 1 with an opportunity to experience our Early Learning Centre, meet our inspiring staff, and tour the College campus located in Como, Western Australia. 6 August or 14 November 2019. https://penrhos.wa.edu.au/enrolments/tours/

About Jennie McNichol

Jennie McNichol is the co-founder of Buggybuddys. She moved to Perth in 2010 after 11 years of living in London, working in television for the BBC. She is the mother of two daughters aged 10 and 8 and loves the family friendly lifestyle that Perth has to offer.

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