At Perkins, we believe that every child can learn and that families play a key role in the education of their children. Yet, children with disabilities need access to inclusive learning opportunities and families have little guidance on how to better advocate for them. This lack of knowledge and practical skills does not only leave families isolated and overwhelmed, but children with less access to education. To provide the support children need to learn and define their own success, Perkins also empowers families so they can be included as partners in education.
While focusing on enhancing quality and inclusive education, our programs in Latin America are integrating a direct approach to bringing families and school communities together. In an effort led by local Perkins Family Coordinators, who are parents of children with disabilities themselves, family members participate in a series of training and coaching opportunities that foster collaboration between home and school and enhance the learning experience of children with disabilities.
In Mexico, these actions and the support we provide to public schools are made possible through the efforts of Perkins Project Pixan. In partnership with Secretaries of Education, this project is improving the delivery of quality education to children throughout the country. As part of this work, 36 families and 18 professionals from five states came together as part of a Regional Family Meeting, the first of its kind.
The families who gathered were chosen among the public schools that are part of the project. In this two-day meeting that was celebrated in Guadalajara this past October, participants engaged in a deep reflection about the importance of boosting self-esteem, developing resilience, the need to be heard, building inclusivity, changing societal and cultural beliefs, and respecting the teaching and learning process. Together, families and professionals developed a collaborative work plan that reflects their needs and established collaboration commitments to follow when returning to their communities.
The work with families does not end here. Project Pixan is getting ready to host another meeting early next year. It will convene families and school communities from programs that, in partnership with the Secretaries of Education, Perkins also supports in Yucatan and its neighboring states. In Latin America, we will continue equipping families with the knowledge they need to foster collaboration and teamwork between them and the schools that implement change for their children. This is the belief that drives us to work toward our vision of a world where no child is left behind.