Parents are the most influential people in their child’s life; good or bad. Values, habits, language, and infinite skills are communicated to children in their first few years then reinforced in the years that follow. Thus, parent involvement in a child’s early years of education is not only important but imperative to shape their future learning.
The responsiveclassroom.org shares research about the benefits of parental involvement in early years of education:
- Regardless of a student’s socio-economic level or background, parental involvement in a child’s schooling shows increased grades, higher test scores, better school attendance, higher than average social skills, improved behavior, and the ability to adjust well to school.
- The best indicators for a student’s future success in school are families who are involved in their child’s education at school, a home environment which values education, and parents who convey high goals for a child’s academic achievement.
- Parent involvement at school not only improves their child’s academic performance but tends to improve the performance for all children at the school. Student achievement is increased even further when the connection between school and home is thorough and well planned out.
What does this look like? Parents can volunteer to help in the classroom on a regular basis or from time to time, as they have availability. This provides teachers with extra help for a variety of learning activities from field trips, skill centers and reading groups to formative assessments, which inform teachers of daily instructional needs. Parents can provide a literature rich environment at home by establishing a daily reading routine where students read on their own, are read to, and have access to books at their level. A structured space and time for homework can be provided as well as accountability given for completion.
As an educator and mother of four, I have experienced this firsthand. My oldest two are going into high school and middle school and I was worried about their academics when they were younger. It took a lot of repetition to learn their letters and sounds, they were slower to learn to read and performed average or below average in school in those early years. However, I spent time helping in their schools, sometimes weekly, and other times more sporadically, I supported their homework and continually encouraged them to do their best. We participated in school reading nights, I chaperoned field trips and continuously worked with their teachers to support their learning.
It has paid off! They both have developed a love for learning, high grades, high scores on high stakes testing, and acceptance into International Baccalaureate (IB) for High School.
There is so much for children to gain from parental involvement in school in their early years of education, but the years go by so fast. Intentional time and investment into your child’s school and their education will reap many more years of rewards.