Role Of Parents In Early Childhood Education
The role of parents in early childhood education goes beyond just admitting their child to a good school. Here’s how parental involvement in childhood education affects a child’s academic performance
By Sugandh Jolly
As parents, your active involvement is necessary in every sphere of your child’s education — right from his birth to adulthood. However, some parents have the wrong notion that the role of parents in child’s education ends with admitting their toddler in a preschool.
Educating a child is a shared responsibility of both the parents and the educators. When parents support their child’s learning at home, it creates a positive experience for the little one and helps him perform better in school. What’s more, it also helps him understand the importance of school and family in his life.
A study titled ‘Parental Involvement in the Classroom’ by Machen, Wilson, & Notar published in the Journal of Instructional Psychology in 2005 revealed that enhancing the involvement of parents in the classroom goes a long way towards improving the quality of the schools in general, besides contributing to higher standards and providing opportunities for students. The study also stressed on creating parent-teacher collaboration strategies to eliminate all hindrances to parental involvement in early childhood education.
Understanding early childhood education
Early childhood education refers to what a child learns between the ages of 2 and 7 years. This is the age when children are very curious and eager to learn. So, the education provided during this period plays a big role in shaping a child's attitude towards learning, as well as her cognitive and social development.
During the phase of early childhood education, it is important for parents to spend some time regularly with their children. This is because, children not only learn through books but also through association with their parents.
The benefits of parental involvement
Parental engagement, at preschool level, helps extend learning beyond the classroom. In order to provide your child with outstanding learning experiences and good cognitive development, you should be in full partnership with her teachers. Your involvement in the preschool years would provide multiple long-standing benefits to you, your child and the preschool.
Why parent involvement is so important in early childhood education
Here are some of the benefits of parental involvement in early childhood education:
- When you support your child’s learning, he becomes more aware of his social-emotional needs.
- When you get involved in your child’s learning activities at home, it helps you understand the school curriculum and the teacher’s job in a better way.
- If you are aware of the prescribed preschool curriculum, you can have a better understanding of your child’s virtuosity and the areas in which she needs to improve.
- When you interact with your toddler during his early years and show interest in his academic activities, it helps him understand that you love and care for him.
So, as responsible parents, it is your duty to get actively involved in your child’s early education.
Tips for encouraging parent involvement
While many parents are enthusiastic about taking responsibility for their child’s early education, they aren’t aware of what they should and should not do. Here is a list of do’s and don’ts while engaging yourself in your child’s early childhood education:
What you should do
- Make sure you share even the minute details pertaining to your toddler’s home life with her caregiver, such as the language you speak at home, your family traditions, her sleep patterns, and other important information involving her.
- You should regularly participate in outreach activities conducted by your child’s preschool and interact with his caregiver on a regular basis to know about his performance, abilities and interests.
- Let your toddler make mistakes. Unless she finds herself in a challenging situation, she cannot become confident about solving her problems on her own.
- To make your preschooler self-confident, let him solve simple problems. For example, if you notice him assembling a toy car or trying to reach a jar of cookies on the top shelf, wait before you offer to help.
- Make sure you assign simple chores to your toddler, such as putting clothes into the laundry basket, watering the plants, cleaning up the mess she made, organising books on the rack, and so on. Assigning such tasks to her not only increases her morale but also instills a sense of responsibility in her.
What you should never do
Do not discourage your child from doing chores: Are you preventing your child from folding laundry or cleaning dishes after dinner? If yes, stop doing that now. If you do the task yourself, you may accomplish the task quickly and effortlessly; but, by doing so you will end up hurting him emotionally and destroying his confidence. You cannot raise an independent child if you do not encourage him to do things on his own. Also,
- Do not brag: Bragging may spoil your child. For example, you can talk about her ability to read; however, you should not brag that she can read more than a dozen books in a week.
- Do not delay discipline: To optimise the remedial effect of disciplining your child, you should discipline him as soon as he misbehaves. For example, if you must rebuke your preschooler for a wrongdoing, do so as soon as you notice his misbehaviour. Don’t wait to take action until you get home because he will completely forget the incident by then. But, when you have to correct your child in public places, exercise caution. Take your child aside and gently point out the wrong behaviour and explain why he should correct the same.
- Do not take your child away from conflicts: Instead of rescuing your child from every conflict, let her settle the minor issues. Since you won’t always be available to rescue her, you should prepare her to deal with conflicts on her own.
In order to help children grow into well-rounded individuals, it is the duty of parents as well as educators to work together with distinctive insight and try to understand their talents as well as their weaknesses. For example, while educators will be familiar with the curriculum and culture of the school, parents will be accustomed to the child’s temperaments, habits, and home life.
Are you interfering with your toddler’s classroom activities?
You should keep in mind that there is a thin line between involvement and interference. For example, when you consider yourself as your child’s educator, you are more likely to engage yourself in her preschool by helping her with her homework, communicating her progress and creating a learning environment at home so that she can improve her behaviour and excel in academics. On the other hand, your involvement in her early learning becomes an interference when you start questioning each decision of her teacher, or ask for special attention for her, or keep complaining to the teacher regularly.
Interference can create trouble for teachers and hamper the relationship between you, your child and his teacher. Therefore, you should know where to draw the line. Instead of being hyper-vigilant and overprotective towards him, you should strive to keep a balance so that he can learn from real-world experiences at home and at school.
Find preschools in your locality.
About the author:
Written by Sugandh Jolly on 01 March 2018. Last updated on 14 May 2020.
The author is the co-founder of two preschools in Delhi (ELV and Wonderland), and a learning platform called Launchpad.
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