Collaboration between elementary schools and the community with examples of good practice Dr. Barbara Šteh and dr. Jana Kalin in dr. Petra Mrvar
Summary: An important task for schools is to establish collaboration with the community. Collaboration refers to a partnership between the school, parents and the community, which the authors define as a joint effort to improve children’s development and learning, while sharing the resources of power and responsibility. A collaborative effort is needed to achieve coordinated, consistent, systematic and planned cooperation between the local and the wider environment, with a variety of individuals, groups and organisations. The diversity of experiences enabled by this type of collaboration enriches all the participants involved. In the theoretical part of the paper, we analyse the basic characteristics of the partnership between the school and the community. We also look at the purpose of the collaboration, which is dependent on and determined by the agreements between the partners and the opportunities and conditions presented by each partner. In the empirical part of the paper, we present one part of the findings relating to the empirical study on the collaboration of Slovenian elementary schools with different partners, which we carried out in the autumn of 2014. On the basis of the results obtained and particular examples of good practice, we can conclude that schools engage in collaboration with individuals and institutions in the community in a wide variety of ways. The manner of collaboration should always be adapted to the unique context, situation and needs of the partners involved.