The Role of Parents in Education for the Traditional Classroom Learner
It is often said parents are their child’s first teacher. As parents, we live this truth everyday because learning happens in each moment we share with them. The bond between us and our children is so important that no matter what parenting style we choose to use, at the end of the day, it still boils down to the kind of relationship we have with our children.
Children who have a healthy relationship with their parents are more likely to develop positive relationships with other people around them, establish secure bonds and friendships with peers, and regulate their emotions when faced with stress and difficult situations. Our secure attachment with them helps promote their cognitive, emotional and social development.
Parents serve as children’s first teacher during their early years, but our responsibility of teaching doesn’t end when they start going to school, even if they are in a traditional brick and mortar setting. Many researchers recognise the important role strong positive bonds between homes and schools play in the development and education of children (Edwards & Alldred, 2000; Henderson & Berla, 1994; Richardson, 2009; Sanders & Sheldon, 2009; Sheldon, 2009). The theories put forward have been supported, and reaffirmed by numerous studies, showing good cooperation between schools, homes and the communities can lead to academic achievement for students. Research has also shown that successful students have strong academic support from their involved parents (Sheldon, 2009).
Both parents and teachers play a pivotal role in educating a child. They teach essential life and academic skills while providing love and support that help students healthily develop. When teachers partner their ability to inspire thought and creativity with the foundational support parents provide, students are better prepared to have positive school experiences.
These are some of the roles we play in the traditional classroom as we take active involvement in our child’s education
As parents, we should be aware of how our child’s progress is in school. The best way to monitor children’s development is to track their developmental milestones. Early experiences make a difference in how young children’s brains develop and can influence lifelong learning and health. Spending a great deal of time with our children is instrumental in determining many of the kinds of experiences they will have. Developmental monitoring means observing and noting specific ways a child plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves every day, in an on-going way, so that we as parents can understand and articulate their strengths and stretches.
Communication with School
Effective communication is essential for building school-family partnerships. It constitutes the foundation for all other forms of family involvement in education. As parents, we benefit from being involved in our children’s education by getting ideas from school on how to help and support our children, and by learning more about the school’s academic program and how it works. Perhaps most important, we benefit by becoming more confident about the value of their school involvement. We develop a greater appreciation for the important role they play in their children’s education, and we become active participants of this large part of our children’s lives.
According to Waterford.org, an organization seeking to help children succeed through access to lifelong education, the participation of parents in the educational process means that teachers and parents share the responsibility to teach students and work together to achieve educational goals. From another viewpoint, teachers see important changes in their classrooms when parents get involved, such as improvements in the motivation and performance of the students and even their character. Also, collaboration with parents can help identify needs and goals, and there can be discussions about how parents can contribute. The communication with the parents presents the opportunity for the teacher to listen to parents’ concerns and explain to them more about their children’s education.
Communication & Support
Children learn how to communicate by watching us. If we communicate openly and effectively, chances are our children will, too. Good communication skills will benefit our children for their entire lives. They begin to form ideas and beliefs about themselves based on how we communicate with them. When we communicate effectively with our children, we are showing them respect. They then begin to feel that we heard and understood them, which boosts their self-esteem. When we communicate with our children, it is important that we are physically at their level and that our choice of words meets their understanding.
In the nurture role, we take care of our children’s basic needs, such as food, medical care, shelter, clothing, etc., as well as giving love, attention, understanding, acceptance, time, and support. We are patient and listen to our children. We make time for them, show an interest in their activities and encourage them to pursue their passions. Through our words and actions, we communicate to our children that they are loved and accepted. The other part of our job is to provide “structure” for our children. In this role, we give direction, impose rules, set limits, establish and follow through with consequences, hold our children accountable for their behavior, and teach values. We provide the guidance that helps our children to develop, grow, and mature.
We embody and live out the values we wish to instil in our children so that they can see the expectations we have for them.
The connection between school and home gives our children a sense of safety and belonging. This partnership supports their growth and development because children are provided with a continuation of expectations, support, and an investment into both their social and academic success.
Parents do not cease to be their child’s teacher. Rather, that role expands into coach, mentor, friend. The great part is parents don’t have to walk that journey alone. We encourage you, as parent, guardian, caregiver, to seek out the community that will support you throughout the adventure of supporting your children.
Northern Lights Academy Team