Toronto - As families get ready for the start of the new school year, the Toronto District School Board's (TDSB) Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) launches a new public awareness campaign, Living and Learning Together. An initiative that recognizes parents as important partners in their children's education, the campaign provides parents with ideas, information, and resources that will enable them to take everyday activities and make them shared learning experiences. The Living and Learning Together campaign is supported through the Parents Reaching Out Grants from the Ministry of Education.

"As parents, we want our children to be successful and we are looking for ways to provide support in a meaningful way. We are our children's first and most important teachers," said Margo Cowie, Co-Chair of PIAC. "The Living and Learning Together campaign shows parents and caregivers how easy it is to get involved in their children's education by turning everyday family activities into learning opportunities."

Research shows that today's parents are working longer hours and spending less time in the home. Living and Learning Together engages working parents in their children's education. Everyday tasks such as counting cutlery, measuring ingredients, or reading recipes are learning opportunities that parents and children can share.

"Parents play a vital role in the education of their children," said Sheila Ward, Chair of the TDSB. "It is well documented that children achieve higher success when parents are involved in their children's educational experience.

"A home environment that encourages learning results in students doing better in school and in life. We are proud of this initiative and that it was developed for parents, by parents," Ward said.

"Parents are truly at the heart of this project as it extends learning from the classroom to the home, and makes parental involvement part of everyday family life," said Gerry Connelly, Director of Education of the TDSB. "By keeping the passion and desire to learn alive, parents will contribute to their children's academic success and truly become partners in their children's education."

The campaign web site http://www.learntogether.ca/ provides parents with information and ideas on how to turn everyday family activities into learning experiences with their children. With a click, parents can access fun and easy tips, information and resources, and also connect with other parents through the Parents' Forum.

"I'm thrilled that our grant will help Toronto parents get more involved in their children's learning," said Education Minister Kathleen Wynne. "Everything that we can do to help our kids be more successful means a brighter and more prosperous future for both them and Ontario."

As part of the public awareness campaign, Living and Learning Together advertisements will appear on Toronto's public transit system (buses, streetcars, and subway cars) and a selected number of roadside billboards for the next four week. School-based promotions, public service announcements, and print advertisements in community newspapers will continue throughout the school year to support the campaign.

The Living and Learning Together campaign is supported through the Parents Reaching Out Grants from the Ministry of Education and print media sponsor Toronto Community News.