Parental Involvement In Early Childhood - Why It Matters!
“It takes a village to raise a child” so the adage goes. In its true essence, it means that an entire community of people must interact with children for those children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment. It’s our collective responsibility to give the right environment to our kids - even more so if you are the parent.
For instance, a study found that parenting is more important than schools for academic achievement. It is not ALL on the teachers.
Parental involvement (PI) in early childhood education & development is considered crucial in children’s development and learning, even resulting in improved educational outcomes in the grade school level and the higher years. Before going into further details, let us first define what PI really means.
Defining Parental Involvement
A review of the definitions of parental involvement in early childhood education showed that what actually constitutes the involvement of parents in young children's education varies widely. For the purposes of this article, we shall present a few extracts from existing definitions to start putting things in perspective.
Citing a study by Fan and Chen (2001), an exploratory article of parents' and teachers’ perceptions and practices towards PI published in the Edukans defines parental involvement as “...parental aspirations for their children's academic achievement; parents' communication with children about school; parents' participation in school activities; parents' communication with teachers about their children and; parents’ rules at home, which are considered to be school-related.”
An article from UNESCO’s Learning Portal defines it as maintaining parental support to activities that enrich early life experiences and learning during toddler years while focusing on developing school-readiness, such as exposing children to emergent literacy and numeracy (parental and community involvement in education, n.d.).
From the above definitions, we shall define PI here as an overall term for involvement of parents at home and at school characterized by a genuine interest and active engagement in their children’s education and academic progress.
But why does it matter? Why should parents be involved in their children’s education? Here are the top 3 reasons per us:
1. It eases transition from preschool to primary school
Parental involvement in the early years of learning provides children with a springboard that makes transition to primary school more tranquil. The formal set-up of the classroom, along with lesser one-on-one engagement between teacher- students, can be stressful and overwhelming for young learners. But by creating a connection between home and school, you as a parent will be able to pick up where the school left off and possibly determine intuitively what your kid needs to work on to improve his/her competence and self-confidence. At home, you could extend, if not replicate, your child's activities at school. Apps like SoCoWorld that aim at making school and parent engagement effective can really help continue the learning circle. In addition, it can give you insights into who are your kid's friends and how he/she is getting along with their classmates and, as a result, provide the right emotional support if he/she is having some trouble with others, for instance.
2. Establishes positive association
Before, the presence of a parent at school meant someone is in trouble. Now, regular parent visits and involvement in school activities is viewed positively, especially by school staff and teachers whose myriad of duties the parents can help fulfill, such as helping the children organize stuff or be a helper inside the classroom. More significantly, PI in this capacity shows your child and his/her teacher that you view their education & development as an important aspect of life that is worth participating in.
Not all schools engage parents effectively and in such cases parents must demand meaningful engagement without disrupting the school routine. Subscribe to our blog or follow us here to stay updated on more engagement ideas for parents.
3. Properly support children’s development
Early childhood development is the beginning of your child's life and educational journey. PI in this stage can give you a peek into the world of your young ones at school. For instance, with apps like SoCoWorld, you may discover that your kid performs well in activities that involve the use of tools and manipulation of objectives while lags behind in reading and speaking. Having an insight into your child's developmental milestones and objectively determining where he/she falls behind on can help you appreciate your child for who he/she is, enabling you to determine the skills and areas that need refining and what steps should be taken to properly address these issues. SoCoWorld’s 360degree engagement models helps parents track ‘medically proven’ developmental milestones while keeping aware of school followed curriculums, proficiency levels and even suggested at-home-activities.
So as a parent, what can you do to increase your involvement?
Let’s start with congratulating yourself! Recognizing the importance of parental involvement in your child’s development is the first step. As a parent, there are many steps that you can take from here to increase engagement in your preschoolers’ journey such as constant communication with everyone involved in your child’s education and nurturing relationships with parents and guardians for collaborative activities. And with the advances in technology, you don’t have to frequently visit the school to keep a tab on your child’s performance. Another aspect is staying aware and learning about activities that you can do with your child.
SoCoWorld, a school-parent app that enables you to engage in your child’s learning and easily communicate with teachers and school is an effective tool that is at the tip of your fingers. Subscribe to our blog to keep yourself updated as we regularly publish actionable articles to guide you through your child’s early years.