It’s the School’s Job!

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More and more teachers are encountering parents who believe that it is the school’s sole responsibility to educate their child. While they are correct that it is the school’s job to provide much of their education, they are wrong to believe that they have no part in their child’s learning. Quite the opposite, in fact. Parents are their child’s first and most important educator.

Parents don’t have to send their children to school until they are 6 years old. Parents teach their children how to talk, how to listen, how to behave and what to believe about the world. Parents contribute to a child’s moral development and influence their values so heavily that even in adult-hood we still can recall value-related messages from our parents. Children bring all this information with them before they come to school. Without the direct teaching of their parents, children would not know how to communicate or how to behave. Studies of children who have been severely neglected or abandoned show that these kids have difficulty ever learning how to talk or behave appropriately in social situations. Without the teaching of their parents, these kids missed out and were never able to make up for their deficits.

Just like learning to speak and learning how to behave, parents have a key role in the more formal aspects of their child’s education. Did you know that there are certain developmental milestones that have an expiration date? This means that there are some skills that have to be mastered by a certain age, or they will never be fully mastered. An example of this is reading. If children are not confident readers by the end of grade three, it is very likely they will never be confident or strong readers.

Did you also know that there are many skills that children need to develop BEFORE they can learn to read. There are a variety of great resources available online to help parents:

– http://edu.gov.on.ca/eng/literacynumeracy/parentGuideLit.pdf

– http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/reader/index.html

– http://www.readingrockets.org/

Some easy activities to do with your children:

– go to your early years centre

(http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/earlychildhood/oeyc/locations/index.aspx)

– go to your public library for story time and take out some books

– read a story to your child every night before bed

– point out letters and common words when you are out (ex. Stop, Walk, your town’s name, favourite foods in the grocery store)

– play rhyming games with silly and nonsense words

There are many more resources available online with suggestions to help you as a parent give your child the best head start possible. Use them, give your kid your best effort to help them be as successful as possible.

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”
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