Thursday, February 18, 2016

Benefits of Sleep - What the Research Says

The body clock is an ancient system, common to all life on earth that relies on sunlight and darkness, periods of activity and periods of rest to calibrate itself. Today’s society, with its electric lights, proliferating digital devices, global economy and ‘always on’ mentality, has scrambled our inner timing systems. In short we are living in an age of circadian dysfunction.

Emily Laber-Warren 

Researchers believe that with digital devices and 24/7 lifestyles, that we are messing with our body’s natural rhythms and threatening our very health. Basically, for many people, sleep deprivation has resulted in our natural circadian rhythm being out of sync.

According to Dr. Merrill Miller, a sleep expert and neuroscientist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), "Sleep services all aspects of our body in one way or another: molecular, energy balance, as well as intellectual function, alertness, and mood." Beyond that, sleep also helps support several aspects of mental health, brain function, and long-term wellness.

There is considerable research around the benefits of eight hours uninterrupted sleep. So what are the benefits?

1.    Sleep improves memory. Your mind is very busy while you are asleep. During sleep, your brain can strengthen memories or ‘practise’ skills learned while you were awake through a process called consolidation. "If you are trying to learn something, whether it’s physical or mental, you learn it to a certain point with practice," says Dr. Rapoport, who is an associate professor at NYU Langone Medical Centre. "But something happens while you sleep that makes you learn it better."


2.    Sleep improves stamina and reduces daytime fatigue. Children between the ages of 10 and 16 who have sleep disordered breathing, which includes snoring, sleep apnea, and other types of interrupted breathing during sleep, are more likely to have problems with attention and learning, according to a 2010 study in the journal Sleep. This could lead to "significant functional impairment at school," the study authors wrote.

3.    Sleep encourages greater creativity and sharpens attention. In a letter in Nature in 2010, scientists reported that subjects can solve 30% more anagram word puzzles when they are given the test after waking up from REM sleep than they could after non-REM sleep. More recent research published in 2012 found that sleep is particularly good at helping people solve complex problems.

Science has confirmed that REM sleep helps people be creative. At the University of California at Davis, researchers used a protocol called a Remote Associates Test (RAT) to quantify increases in creativity. They divided test subjects into three groups. One rested but did not sleep, one slept in NREM, and one slept in REM right before taking the test. Those in the waking/rest and NREM groups showed no increased in creativity as measured by RAT, whereas those recently woken from REM sleep showed an increase in capacity.

4.    Sleep improves academic results. For students, getting sufficient rest proves important for tests and exams. One larger survey from Belgium showed that university students who got at least seven hours of sleep achieved grades 10 percent higher than those with fewer hours of rest.

5.    Sleep helps maintain a healthy body weight. In one recent study conducted by University of Pennsylvania researchers, touted as the largest and most-controlled to date, 225 people were subjected to sleep deprivation and their weight and caloric intake was monitored over several days. In the study, participants in the sleep restriction condition gained more weight.

6.    Sleep reduces the possibility of depression and lower stress levels. Researchers have known for a while that mental health and sleep quality share connections. Two more recent studies published in the SLEEP journal looked at both adolescents and adult twins to learn more about the connections between sleep and depression, in particular. The twin study found that short sleep duration and long sleep duration significantly increased genetic risk for symptoms of depression. The teen study found that sleep duration of less than six hours per night also increased risk of major depression.

Teenagers need as much sleep as really young children, ten hours each night. Eight hours is okay but ten hours is better. Dr Rapoport says, it’s fine if we miss a little sleep to meet a deadline, but it is severe and reoccurring sleep deprivation that clearly impairs learning.

A good night’s sleep consists of 4 to 5 sleep cycles. Each cycle includes periods of deep sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. It turns out that this pattern of cycling and progression is critical to the biology of sleep.

So what are the tips for getting quality sleep and keeping our circadian rhythm in sync?

·         Go to bed the same time each night and get up the same time each morning.

·         Sleep in a dark, quiet, cool, comfortable environment – block out light sources.

·         Exercise daily but not right before bed – not less than 3 hours beforehand.

·         Relax before bedtime – a warm bath or shower, reading or deep breathing.

·         Limit the use of electronics and blue screen/light devices before bed.

·         Keep mobile phones, chargers and all forms of digital devices out of the bedroom.

·         Avoid stimulants such as caffeine late in the day.

Parents, it may be tricky convincing your daughter or son that the benefits of sleep far outweigh the assignment deadlines, but with careful planning and a balance between regular eight hours sleep and forward planning for assessment, co-curricular and school commitments, you will reap rewards in the short and long-term health and wellbeing of your daughter or son. Sleep on it, and see what you think in the morning. J

Sleep is that golden chain that
ties health and our bodies together.

(Thomas Dekker)


1.    Benefits of Slumber – NIH News in Health, April 2013. Accessed at:

2.    Laber-Warren,E. September/October 2015.Out of Sync. Scientific American Mind.


Benfits of Showing Kindness and Gratitude

Benefits of Showing Kindness and Gratitude
Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other,
Just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

Wednesday, 17 February was Random Acts of Kindness Day. Given the latest research on showing kindness and gratitude, it’s a wonder that we need to designate a special day for random acts of kindness, but it seems we do. Maybe in the hurly burly of busy lives we sometime overlook the simple acts that make a real difference to our sense of wellbeing, our moods, our health and particularly, our mental health.


So what are the benefits of kindness and showing gratitude? The research is overwhelming in the benefits of altruism and simple acts of kindness and gratitude , not just from the work of Seligman, Fredrickson, Stratton and others in Positive Psychology, but also from a range of scientific studies too.

Benefits of Kindness and Gratitude:

·         Showing gratitude and kindness has a strong impact on positive emotions and wellbeing.

One of Plato’s interesting observations was that “a grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself, great things”. Recent scientific research confirms that people who are more grateful and kind have higher levels of wellbeing and are happier, less depressed, less stressed and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships.

·         Kindness makes us happier.

Researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D. found that people who engage in kind acts become happier over time. Basically when we are kind to others, we feel good about ourselves and become more optimistic and positive. Another researcher, Elizabeth Dunn found that the act of helping another person triggers activity in the cortex regions of the brain, the parts involved in pleasure and reward. In essence, when we serve others, it produces the same sort of pleasure as gratification of a personal desire.


·         Doing kind acts for others reduces anxiety.

University of British Columbia researchers assigned people with high levels of anxiety to do kind acts for other people at least six times a week for four weeks. The researchers found that doing nice things for people led to a significant increase in people’s positive moods. It also led to an increase in relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance in socially anxious individuals.

·         Doing acts of kindness and gratitude lowers blood pressure and gives us healthier hearts.

According to Dr David R. Hamilton, acts of kindness create emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and, therefore, protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.

·         Showing gratitude and kindness improve the quality of sleep.

A 2015 study in London, published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that gratitude helps improve the quality of sleep and lowers blood pressure too.


·         Showing collective gratitude improves the organisation’s outcomes.

In a 2015 study published in the International Business Research Journal, found that collective gratitude can foster employees’ organisational commitment, lead to positive outcomes, and helps eliminate toxic workplace emotions, attitudes and negative emotions such as envy, anger and greed in today’s highly competitive work environment.


·         Kindness slows the aging process.

Scientific journals have recently suggested that there is a strong link between compassion and the activity of the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve, in addition to regulating the heart rate, also controls inflammation levels in the body in what is known as the inflammatory reflex. One study of the lovingkindness meditation, found that kindness and compassion did reduce inflammation in the body, most likely due to its effects on the vagus nerve. Ultimately, reducing inflammation can slow the aging process.

Another takeaway point based on the research, is that the stronger the act of appreciation or kindness, the bigger the impact on positive emotions and social engagement. Famous comedian Bob Hope, once quipped, “If you haven’t any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.” It seems then, with the latest research on kindness and gratitude, that this is very true.


We have lots of reasons then to practise kindness and gratitude on a daily basis and maybe not just on one special day. So what are you waiting for? Try to do one kind act each day and show gratitude each day and be surprised by how much your life can change.



Jacobsen, D. 2015. 10 New Studies on the Benefits of Gratitude. Accessed at:

Keltner, D. 2009. Born to Be Good. W.W. Norton and Company: New York.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Improving Your Child's Resilience

There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children.
One of these is roots, the other, wings.
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

 As parents, we want to do the very best for our children. I hasten to add though, that we don’t necessarily want to give them everything that they want. How are we going to develop their character, if we do? It’s a fine line between giving our children the best opportunities and knowing when to say, “no” to them.  It may seem a little harsh, but in order to develop character, instil self-discipline and build resilience in our children, it is exactly what we should do from time to time. It’s good to say no to our children and it is even better to develop skills that allow our children to personally resist the natural urge to give into and satisfy all of their wants and desires.

Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, Walter Mischel’s 1960 experiment with 4 year old kindergarten children being asked to delay eating a marshmallow while the researcher left the room, in order to have two marshmallows later when the researcher came back into the room, found that only thirty per cent of the young children could resist eating the marshmallow. Most of the children could resist for some minutes when the researcher left the room but most ate the marshmallow within five minutes and only thirty per cent could wait fifteen minutes until the researcher returned to the room. More recent follow up with these people, found that they were more academically and socially competent in their teenage years and were more successful in their adult lives, if they were able to suppress their desire to eat the marshmallow for fifteen minutes until the researcher returned to the room.

So what exactly do we mean by building a child’s resilience? How can we do this? People who can deal with adversity and move forward, persevere and adapt when things go wrong, or bounce back from a difficult setback, or experience are said to have more resilient than those who struggle emotionally for a long time after a difficult time or adversity.  Resilience is the ability to:

·         Overcome obstacles in childhood

·         Steer through everyday adversities that befall us

·         Bounce back from setbacks that occur; and

·         Reach out to achieve all that we are capable of achieving in life.

According to researchers Dr Shatte and Karen Reivich (2002), there are seven essential skills for overcoming life’s obstacles. Much of their research builds on the work done by internationally renowned professor of Positive Psychology at Pennsylvania University, Dr Martin Seligman’s work in Learned Optimism. How is optimism related to resilience? Our beliefs about the way things will turn out have a significant influence on the ways in which we respond to stress and adversity. Optimistic people expect that in the end things will turn out well, despite the difficulties they may face in the present. Pessimists on the other hand, tend to view the future as uncertain at best and, at worst, filled with continued difficulties and insurmountable struggles. Optimism affects our well-being, our physical health and overall level of happiness.

Without oversimplifying these seven essential skills of resilience, they can be summarised as follows:

·         Being in charge of our emotions – one simple and effective method to help children (and adults) be in charge of emotions is the old tried and true method of three deep breaths. When we slowly breathe into the count of three and exhale to the count of five and do this a few times, we experience an amazing calming effect.

·         Controlling our impulses - research around resilience indicates that those young people who can control their impulses are more successful in a range of social skills that in turn build resilience in us. Just to be clear, being resilient does not mean that we don’t act on our impulses, but rather, we control our responses.
            One strategy is to teach children how to control their impulses. For example when one sibling             makes a comment that upsets the other, we could encourage them to follow these              simple  steps:

·         Stop,

·         think,

·         breathe,

·         think of three responses before saying anything; and

·         then respond.


·         Analysing the cause of problemsthis is the ability to analyse problems accurately and decide what the cause of the problem is. “Accurately” is the key word here, because researchers have found that what we think about a stressful events or problems affects how we feel about these events and what we do about them. Teaching children to identify the problem and come up with some solutions to the problem is a great way to build resilience. 

·         Maintaining realistic optimismthis is a belief that things can change for the better, that there is hope for the future and that you can control the direction of your life. The control we feel with accurate and flexible thinking helps to maintain a sense of optimism for the future. Gentle reminders to children can help adjust any faulty thinking when they say things like “this always happens to me” thinking or “I never get to…” – just remind them of when they did not have this happen or when they did do something.

·         Having empathy for othersempathy is understanding what it’s like to walk in another person’s shoes or the ability to understand the feelings and needs of another person. Young children learn when parents recognise their feelings by saying, “You look happy when you play with that.” Or “Your friend looks a little sad today.” Research shows that being understood and understanding others are important to the growth of resilience.

·         Believing in your own competenceis the belief that we have what it takes to tackle most of the problems we face in our daily lives. We feel effective in the choices we make and actions, knowing what we do matters, and to keep on trying even when situations are challenging. Giving children choice helps them feel that they have some control in a situation and control over what they do. For example: “Do you want to help me in the garden or help your dad wash the car?”

·         Reaching outis the ability to take on new opportunities that life presents to us. Seeing mistakes as a learning opportunity, makes it easier for us to take risks and try new things. Giving children the opportunity to succeed, while still being challenged, increases their confidence. Also, reaching out is about asking for help when it’s needed.


Mischel,W., Shoda,Y., Rodriguez, M.L., “Delay of Gratification in Children”, Science, New Series, Vol. 244, No.4907, May 26,1989, 933-938.

Reaching In Reaching Out Resilience Training:
Reivich, K. & Shatté, A., (2002),  The Resilience Factor: 7 essential skills for overcoming life's inevitable obstacles,  New York, NY, US: Broadway Books. 342 pp.
Seligman, M.E.P., (2011), Flourish, New York, USA: Atria Paperback.

Improving Your Wellbeing - Strategies that Really Work

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,
And creates a vision for tomorrow.

(Melody Beattie, author)

Have you noticed that it’s often the simple things in life that bring us the greatest happiness and sense of well-being? Talking to a close friend or loved one, laughing at a joke, smiling at our pet dog or cat as it plays, noticing the warmth of the sun on our skin, walking along the beach, picnicking in a National Park, or staying in bed on a cold morning reading a good book can all make us feel better. There are many simple pleasures that improve our sense of well-being and make us happier, so why is it that the moment is quickly lost and we struggle to hold onto that magical moment or time of bliss? Happiness, it seems, is a transient emotion or state of being that can evaporate quickly, so start by writing down those special moments and show gratitude for what you have.

Positive Psychology proponent, Professor Martin Seligman suggests a simple exercise to lift our mood. He calls it the “Three Blessings” or the “What Went Well Exercise?”.  This exercise takes no more than ten minutes to write down three things that went well during the day and the reason why they went well. Try it for at least a week to see if your mood improves. I guess it’s part of human nature to focus far more on what went wrong rather than what went well, it’s how we have survived over the millennia.  Flip this notion on its head though, and focus more on what goes well in your day. (Go to Seligman’s free website: for more ideas and surveys to monitor your well-being.)

Acts of kindness are contagious and research shows that being kind to others increases our own levels of well-being as well as the well-being of others. Try some of these: give a compliment, hold a door open for someone, make someone laugh, volunteer for a charity or worthy cause, take time to really listen to someone – hold eye contact for the entire time, leave little gifts or cards for work colleagues or friends and show your appreciation for someone’s actions, write a letter of gratitude to someone who made a real difference in your life – let them know how much they helped you. Random acts of kindness are wonderful too, but why not start with the people we know best?

In a recent Time article, “The Mindful Revolution”, Pickert notes that scientists have been able to prove that mediation and mindfulness training can lower cortisol levels and blood pressure, increase immune response, and have an impact on the structure of the brain. Technology has made it harder than ever to focus on just one thing at a time. We are all multi-tasking way too much. Mindfulness is a skill that helps quietens our busy mind so we focus more on the present moment and less on what’s happened or what we think is going to happen. Mindfulness, like meditation requires regular practice.

When Burkeman, author of The Antidote: Happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking, met with Eckhart Tolle to explore his philosophy for happiness, Tolle made the point that the most important thing is not to be continuously lost in this mental projection away from now. Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. The result is that we can ‘miss our whole life’ by focussing on the past or the future and never the here and now. Without really noticing it, we treat the future as intrinsically more important than the present. So stop and think about the ‘here and now’ and keep your attention there.

Try asking yourself whether you have any immediate problems right now. Often people are surprised to find that their ‘problems’ are things that they are worried about happening in the future, and in many cases, are not likely to happen at all. Maybe it’s a truism, but 99% of what we worry about never happens.  Burkeman suggests that if we took the advice of Seneca and imagined the worst-case scenario, then perhaps we would be more surprised and happier when things don‘t turn out as badly as we first thought.

Author of “The Art of the Idea”, John Hunt, contends that everyone falls into one or two categories. A ‘sunriser’ gives out energy, a ‘sunsetter’ sucks it away. Sunrisers go through life open to the idea that the best may still be coming while sunsetters are heavy in the knowledge that the best is past – for this person, the future is a calibrated decline – always sloping downhill. Are you a sunriser or a sunsetter? Remember the old Winston Churchill adage: An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty, while a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. Maybe it’s time to switch your thinking? Seligman’s research found that optimists enjoy better health, live longer and are happier than their counterparts.

Note to Self:  

Strategies that really work in improving your well-being

·         Show gratitude for what you have.

·         Practise acts of kindness – it’s infectious.

·         Write a letter of thanks to someone who helped you.

·         Be in the present – the ‘here and now’.

·         Every day, write down three things that went well that day and why they went well.

·         10 to 30 minutes meditation every day.

·         Be a ‘sunrise’ person not a ‘sunset’ person.
·         Download some Apps like Headspace, Happier, the Smiling Mind and Gratitude Journal and use them daily.

·         Smile at everyone you meet. You, and they, will feel better for your smile.
       Yesterday is but a dream,
Tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness,
      And every tomorrow a vision of hope.


Burkeman, O. (2012). The Antidote: Happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking. Melbourne, Australia: The Text Publishing Company.

Kluger, J. (2013, July). The Happiness of Pursuit. Time, V.182, No.2, 20-30.

Hunt, J. (2009). The Art of the Idea: and how it can change your life.New York, USA: powerHouse Books.

Pickert, K. (2014, February). The Mindful Revolution: The science of finding focus in a stressed-out, multitasking culture. Time, V.183, No.4,33-38.

Seligman, M.E.P. (2011). Flourish, New York, USA: Atria Paperback.

Monday, September 2, 2013

What are the Benefits of Parent Involvement in Education and what does the Current Research Reveal?

Each day of our lives we make deposits
in the memory banks of our children.
(Charles R. Swindoll)

It’s a tricky business working out exactly what level of involvement in your child’s education is ‘just right’. Too little and your child doesn’t flourish, too much and your child doesn’t develop independence and resilience. So what do we know about the involvement of parents in their children’s education?
According to Henderson and Berla (1994), “the most accurate predictor of a student’s achievement in school is not income or social status but the extent which that student’s family is able to:
1.       Create a home environment that encourages learning;

2.       Express high (but not unrealistic) expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers; and

3.       Become involved in their children’s education at school and in the community (p. 160).”

Similarly in more recent research carried out by Karen Smith Conway and Andrew Houtenville (2008), they found that parental involvement has a substantial, strong, positive effect on student achievement. The conclusions from a report, A New Wave of Evidence, which was a synthesis of research on parent involvement over a decade, found that, regardless of family income or background, students with involved parents are more likely to:

·         Earn higher results and test scores and enrol in higher level programs;

·         Be promoted, and ‘pass their subjects’;

·         Attend school regularly;

·         Have better social skills, show better behaviour and adapt well to school; and

·         Graduate and go onto postsecondary education.

Also Henderson and Berla (1994) found that when parents are involved that:
·         Children consistently complete their homework;

·         Children have better self-esteem, are more self-disciplined, and show higher aspirations and motivation toward school; and

·         Children from diverse cultural backgrounds tend to do better when parents and teachers work together to bridge the gap between the culture at home and the culture at school.
One of the most important areas of parental involvement is in the area of reading, where research shows that student achievement is directly linked to reading ability and parent involvement in reading to and with their children.

·         Did you know that listening comprehension comes before reading comprehension and that you must hear a word before you can say it or read and write it? According to Jim Trelease, author of New York Times bestseller, “The Read Aloud Handbook”, there’s a “word reservoir” in a child’s brain and one thing that parents can do, is to pour as many words into that brain so that it overflows into speech, then reading and writing.
·         Did you know that by age four, high-income children have heard 45 million words from their families and low-income children have heard just 13 million? That’s a 32 million word difference according to Hart and Risley’s “Meaningful Differences”.
·         Did you know that children learn an average of 4,000 to 12,000 new words each year as a result of book reading?
·         Did you know that children read on one level and listen on a higher level and it’s not until Year 8 that the reading level catches up to the listening level?
·         Did you know that children who grow up in homes where books are plentiful go further in school than those who don't and have the highest reading scores.
·         Did you know that research shows that those children who watch the most television, know the least. The average child spends 1460 hours a year watching television, DVDs and playing computer games, equal to watching “Gone With the Wind” 392 times a year.
Desforges’ research (2003) on parent involvement in their children’s education found that :

·         Children with higher scores on measures of achievement, competence, and intelligence had parents who held higher educational expectations and aspirations for them than did parents of children who did not score as high.

·         Parents of higher scoring children used more advanced levels and styles of thought and language in interactions with their children than parents of children who did not score as high. These advanced levels and styles of thought and language included the use of more advanced organising information, more detailed instruction, and more verbal variety.

·         In addition, the parents of higher scoring children provided more explanations and reasons when correcting their children’s behaviour or performance. Finally, they provided better problem solving strategies which the children adopted (pp 84-87).

According to Olsen and Fuller (2006) there are many benefits to parents too:

·         Parents increase their interaction and discussion with their children and are more responsive and sensitive to their children’s social, emotional, and intellectual developmental needs.

·         Parents are more confident in their parenting and decision-making skills.

·         As parents gain more knowledge of child development, there is more use of affection and positive reinforcement and less punishment on their children.

·         Parents’ perceptions of the school are improved and there are stronger ties and commitment to the school.

·         Parents are more aware of, and become more active regarding, policies that affect their children’s education when parents become more involved in the school.

So is there such a thing as “too much involvement” in your child’s education? The answer is not definitive but a “maybe” and “it depends”. Parents should avoid ‘fighting their children’s battles for them’. At some point, as children mature into young adults they need to acquire the very skills that they will need later in life to be successful in their own right, motivated, resilient, independent, and autonomous in their own thinking. When children are very young they require lots of support but as they grow they need to develop effective problem solving strategies for themselves. Parents should be there as a sounding board and to offer help if it’s needed but should avoid solving the problem for the child. By the time students reach Year 10 to Year 12 they should be developing greater independence and resilience, better preparing them for their tertiary education, future career and life ahead. Ultimately it’s the life ahead for which we are preparing our students.

Successive research has demonstrated that there is substantial and compelling evidence regarding the crucial role that parents play in the development of intelligence, achievement and competence in the education of their children. At Somerville House we encourage parent involvement at every stage of your child’s educational journey because we know it benefits each and every child, parent and school. The more that students, parents and the School work in concert, the more our students will flourish and thrive.

Finally as Hattie notes in his book,  “Visible Learning”, parents have major effects in terms of the encouragement and expectations that they transmit to their children….It is not so much the structure of the family but rather the beliefs and expectations of the adults in the home that contributes most to achievement( pp70-71).
Karon Graham


1.       Becher, R.M. (1984). Parent Involvement: A Review of the Research and Principles of Successful Practice. ERIC. Accessed at:

2.       Desforges, C. and Abouchaar, A. (2003). The Impact of Parental Involvement, Parental Support and Family Education on Pupil Achievement and Adjustment: A Literature Review. Research Report No. 433. Queens Printer. London, England. (pp 84-87)

3.       Hattie, J. (2009). Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London, England. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

4.    Henderson, A.T. and Berla,N. (eds) . (1994). A New Generation of Evidence.  Washington DC.  Committee for Citizens in Education. Harvard Education Press.

5.    Henderson, A.T. and Mapp, K.L. (2002). A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement. Austin,Texas: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. Accessed at:

6.       Olsen, G. and Fuller, M.L. (2006). The Benefits of Parent Involvement: What Research Has to Say, Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall. Accessed at: