Once upon a time, school was created as a training facility for the industrial revolution and manufacturing laborers. It was a place where students were taught to remember steps, processes, follow directions, do what was told and never make a mistake. Thank goodness things have changed. Today, schools are preparing children for the work place, which in the near future will be vastly different from the workplace of our fathers and grandfathers. The workplace of the future will involve innovation, technology, engineering sustainability, coding, software development…and the list goes on and on. How do we prepare our students for this world? We teach them to think, problem solve, imagine, create, design and make.
This new path sometimes leaves our parents to wonder what their role is, in the less traditional and more organic form of learning. Some parents have asked, “How do we support academic achievement for a world that is still being developed”? They wonder if it is just the teacher’s job or if they can help. Well the answer is simple…not only CAN parents help, but their assistance is critical. The school system simply cannot do it alone.
Parents are, in fact, every child’s… first teacher. They have a tremendous influence on the success of their child before children ever set foot in a school. Early teaching and learning experiences (in the home, around the dinner table, at family gatherings or sporting events, in the supermarket or a restaurant) all contribute to the success of child(ren) in school. It starts with communication. They should begin early, talking with their children, not at their children.
Parents can activate critical thinking and initiate a love for learning by encouraging their child(ren) to question the events around them. They act as facilitators, not just providing answers, but by encouraging their child to seek answers through variable resources and research, whether it is in a museum, on television, in a book, on the Internet or at the mall. Teach them the value of learning, listening, speaking and reading. Oh yes…reading is ‘FUNdamental’ and reading to and with your child, will have an immeasurable impact on their enjoyment, desire and ability to read. These experiences between a parent and child, will lead to students who are more prepared for the rigor of the today’s school curricula.
Whatever the experience may be, parental involvement shows the child that he/she is valued. When a child’s self-worth is enhanced, he/she is more likely to want to experience success in all facets of life, including academics. He/She will likely develop the intrinsic motivation and perseverance necessary to ensure academic achievement, in school and beyond.