Parenthood is the responsibility of making sure your child is safe, healthy, and developing steadily and appropriately. Nothing is more important to a parent than the well-being of their child. Parents aren’t just carers and nurturers for the child. They are also the child’s first social interaction, first friends, and above all, the first, and the longest-lasting teacher to the child. Starting with the first step they take, the first bite of food they eat, the first word they utter, parents are responsible for all of the child’s formative learning. Even as the child grows older, the parents play a vital role in their development and education. This is why it is necessary for the parent to actively participate in their child’s education to the best ability.
Education for a young child is a fairly foreign concept. To sit and learn information and try to retain it may feel like a complex task to a 3-year-old. But the same child picks up vocabulary regularly simply by engaging with their parents at home every day. This shows us that early literacy is a social practice that develops in social contexts rather than through formal instruction. That is to say, informal instruction is not supplementary, but central to the education of a young child. The parent’s contribution to their child’s education is crucial between the ages of 2 to 6, more so than for older children. Early childhood educators, therefore, need to consider and incorporate the home and community literacy practices into their teaching and learning programs.
Parent Engagement in Schools is defined as parents and school staff working together to support and improve the learning, development, and health of children and adolescents. It is a shared responsibility in which schools and other institutions are committed to reaching out to engage parents in meaningful ways, and parents are committed to actively supporting their children’s learning and development. This relationship between schools and parents cuts across and reinforces children’s health and learning in multiple settings—at home, in school, in out-of-school programs, and the community. Research shows that parent engagement in schools is closely linked to better student behavior, higher academic achievement, and enhanced social skills.
Young children spend most of their time around or with their parents. This ideally gives a parent an opportunity to find innumerable ways to engage in informal instruction with their child. Here are some ways you too can contribute to your child’s development:
- Playing word identifying games at home using daily objects from their surroundings
- Revise the day’s learning after the end of a school day.
- Invent word games to help the child practice recalling their newly learned vocabulary