The importance of getting parents involved in their preschooler’s lives
Parents are often the first teachers in their child’s lives. Nowadays, parents are very involved in their child’s development and early education. Parents are often needed to help their children out with homework and other activities and are expected to take an active role in their learning, especially in the Singaporean education system. Find out more about preschool in Singapore at https://ourfirststeps.com.sg/macpherson/.
However, many parents are getting involved a little too late. Many parents simply drop off their kids at their childcare and pick up their kids after work, feeling that they don’t need to expend any extra effort engaging in their child’s education as their kids are still so young. However, research has shown that even at such a young age, it is at that point of time that their most important cognitive development takes place!
This is often a two-way street: early childhood educators also play an important role in engaging parents in their preschooler’s education. They play a role as important facilitators in creating conducive environments so that parents can easily engage their children in their development and learning. So what should early childhood educators do to achieve this end?
Invite parents down to classes
The most direct way for parents to be involved is to actively participate in the classes themselves. Being familiar with the environment, the culture and the pace of the lessons will give parents the insight they need in order to play a supportive role in their child’s growth. This can often be a difficult thing to achieve; after all, parents who send their children to preschool are often busy with work and other life commitments. Hence, when they do have the time to visit their children at their centre, this opportunity should be taken full advantage of!
Involve parents in the activities and lessons and allow them to see their children answer questions and perform tasks so that they can observe where their child is cognitive. This will give them an idea of where their child is strong and where they might need some help. Is your child good with spatial intelligence? Mathematics? Maybe they are better creatively? By taking the time to invite parents to the actual lessons, parents will get a better sense of where their child is and they can hone their strengths while also putting in more time to build on their weaknesses.
Get feedback from parents as to the curriculum
There are myriad different areas that contribute to a child’s overall education and cognitive understanding of the world. While many preschools follow a fixed curriculum designed by experts in education, there is always room for parents to add their own inputs! As an educator, always ask parents where they would like to see their child develop. See if there are any particular topics or key skills, both soft and hard, that they would like their child to learn. With this added level of investment, parents will more likely be keen to practice the curriculum at home and not just leave everything to being within the classroom itself.
Parents should also be given access to the curriculum and other useful educational resources. With the ease of online access, it is now more convenient than ever to give parents the opportunity to teach their children from home. With this setup, parents will be able to learn home-based activities to follow up with their child’s preschool learning. These activities can range from anything like full revisions of in-class lessons or simple 10 to 15-minute activities or games where kids are given the opportunity to revisit what they encountered in class. Remember, practice makes perfect!
Create a log of their child’s progress and performance
To many parents, their children are often seen as an investment in their future. It is an exciting and fulfilling experience for many parents to see their children develop and learn new skills as time goes by. Hence, educators who actively track the progress of their students in a systematic matter will find that parents will be more invested in helping that process along. By tracking progress, we create visible and attainable goals for our children to work towards and this incentivises parents to engage their children outside the regular curriculum to help bring them close to these goals.
Research shows that by creating the culture of parents having to guide their children in their early education, they are more likely to be invested in their children’s education all the way through primary to secondary school. It is important that parents learn to be a positive and supportive force through the many challenges their children will face when growing up and becoming a young adult in society. Hence, it is ever the more so important that this positive approach is created from a young age and that children can view their parents as important pillars in their education.
First Steps Preschool @ Macpherson
47 Kallang Pudding Road #01-01