Childhood Early Education and Development
It is widely recognized that children who experience some form of preschool education reap the benefits far beyond junior school.
These benefits include:
- higher test scores
- lower rates of grade repetition and a
- higher incidence of high school graduation.
It has also been found that children whose parents are involved in their education, both at school and at home, fare better throughout their education.
These children are more likely to progress to tertiary education, achieve higher grades and do well in the job market. By being involved in their child’s education, parents show that they believe learning is important. It also shows the child that their parents are interested in what they are doing, and motivates them to do well.
Being involved does not mean interfering, however. It means showing interest, asking questions, and offering help when it is needed. It also means understanding that, by the age of 7, your child has learnt the basic skills and characteristics that will shape him or her for much of their future. Between the ages of 2 and 7, your child is like a super-absorbent sponge, soaking up information and experiences that will form the foundation of their mental, physical and emotional development.
Remember that your child is biologically designed to learn. At 3 years old, your child’s brain is two and a half times more active than yours – and remains that way until the age of about 10.
Brain structure and capacity are largely determined by the quality, quantity and consistency of the stimulation your child receives in these early childhood years, and lasts for the rest of his or her life.
The first step towards effective parent involvement is communication. Communicating with your child fosters mutual respect and helps to build your child’s esteem.
Some guidelines include:
- Pay attention when your child talks to you
- Listen carefully and don’t interrupt them
- Sit next to them or kneel down to get to their level and make eye contact.
In a nutshell, communicate with your child as you would expect them to communicate with you. Allow them to finish their story without interruptions, and focus on the child without distractions.
Whether your child is attending pre-school or staying at home with a parent or caregiver, the years between 3 and 10 are extremely important in terms of development and learning.
Some form of tutoring is considered the best method for parents to participate in their child’s education – not only in the pre-school years, but throughout their formal education as well. The preschool worksheets in the David Dolphin series are specifically designed to allow parents to become involved in their child’s education, whether as additional practice for those already at a pre-school, or as preparation for when formal schooling begins.
The habits that Liz suggests parents instill in their children lay the foundation for lifelong achievement, and the learning will prepare your child for school and equip them with the skills they will need throughout their school career.
The American Association of School Administrators suggests a “curriculum of the home”, which includes many of the principles on which Liz’s teaching is based.
- High expectations
- Emphasis on achievement
- Role modeling the work ethic
- Encouraging and providing a place for study
- Establishing and practicing structured routines
- Monitoring television viewing
- Limiting after-school jobs
- Discussing school events
The last two are of course for older children.
Tutoring takes time, and parents often have little of that precious commodity to spare. However, the rewards of spending time helping your child to learn will be reaped for many years – and not only by your child. Helping prepare your child for formal schooling, and then to achieve success at school, gives you, the parent, a sense of pride in your child and in yourself.
Of course, if you are a pre-school teacher, you already know the feelings of pride and accomplishment you feel when the children you have taught go on to succeed in later life. Often we hear adults downplaying the importance of schooling, saying that they use nothing they learnt at school in their adult life. They have obviously forgotten where they learnt to read, write, count and recognize the colors in a traffic light!
While everyone measures success differently, the ability to succeed at whatever your child may choose to do is instilled at an early age. Helping them achieve their goals means helping them succeed at school, as it is that success that opens the doors to a wide range of opportunities later in life.
The David Dolphin workbooks have been developed to stimulate children, teaching them the basic skills they need for school. The worksheets provide you, the parent, with the perfect vehicle to start getting involved in your child’s education, and helping them to succeed. Follow the tips in the Parent/Teacher Handbook, and enjoy participating in your child’s future.