According to a Harvard University study, the brain’s architecture is constructed even before a child is born. In the first few years of life, between birth and until the age of three years, more than 1 million neurons are formed every second in a child’s brain. These neurons lay the basis of their cognitive abilities and language skills. The skills developed at this age determine a child’s ability to adapt to the formal schooling system and achieve success in the later years of life.
Since early childhood development and education have a lasting impact on a child’s future, parents must ensure early childhood education they offer to their children is of the best quality.
Today, we will look at what comprises early childhood education and why parental involvement is important. Read on to know some valuable tips for improving your involvement levels in your child’s early education.
Why is Early Childhood Education (ECE) Important?
Although traditional thinking believes that early years are meant for a child to only play, research shows that it is not so. The early years of a child’s life, which is from 0 to 8 years, is a period of extraordinary growth. This is when a child exhibits a very high capacity for learning and retaining things that are taught to them.
According to a Participatory Educational Research Journal, early childhood education plays a critical role in:
- Helping a child grow physically, emotionally, and socially
- Honing their confidence level, creativity, and productivity
- Improving their health
- Enhancing their decision-making skills
- Improving their career opportunities and making them more productive
- Lowering their dependence on others and becoming stable and independent individuals
Parental involvement in ECE not just improves the behaviour and academic performance of your child but also enhances their teacher’s behaviour and performance. When they know your child started their early education at home itself, they can tweak their educational strategies to suit your child better.
Having said that, many people wonder why parental involvement is important in early childhood education. Before we talk about that, let’s understand where parental involvement comes from in the first place.
How Parental Involvement Enhances the Early Education of Children?
Most people believe that early childhood education is limited to classrooms. That is not true. Your child’s learning and development largely depend on the environment at home and how eagerly you participate in their learning process. If you are wondering what is the meaning of parental involvement, then read on.
Parental involvement means having an active interest, commitment, and participation in the education of your child. This involves activities such as:
- Supervising your child’s homework and helping them with it
- Preparing them for tests and examinations
- Developing relations with their teacher and communicating with them regularly
- Knowing your child’s co-curricular interests and helping them hone their skills
- Creating a conducive study-based environment at home
Parental Involvement in ECE Plays an Important Role in shaping your child’s future. Here’s why:
- You are their first educator and you can make your child’s learning a continuous process that does not end in school. By creating an environment of warmth and affection at home, you can infuse a sense of confidence in your child and enhance their ability to learn and develop.
- One of the main reasons why parental involvement is important is that your involvement acts as a catalyst and extends their classroom experiences and creates a better home-school connection.
- Children acquire and strengthen essential life skills. These include problem-solving and decision-making skills.
- Responsive parenting promotes school readiness. This contributes to better performance at school.
- Your involvement lays a strong foundation for your child’s education, prevents the delayed development of your child, and helps in shaping their future better.
- Your involvement not just gives your child the best start to their lives, but also improves your emotional closeness to them and builds a better bond. It also has a huge impact on establishing a healthy family environment.
- Children with responsive and involved parents adjust better in school and other external environments. They deal better with issues such as separation anxiety, feel more comfortable around others, and have better communication skills.
What are Some of The Factors Affecting Parental Involvement in Early Childhood Education?
Now that you know what is the meaning of parental involvement and its benefits, it is important to know the factors that can affect your involvement. This will help you in knowing and addressing problem areas and allow you to participate in your child’s developmental milestones.
According to a Walden University Research Paper, Some Factors Affecting Parental Involvement Include:
- Experience with your teachers and school environment
- Current life roles and availability of time
- Level of education
- Income levels
- Cultural and religious influences
- Gender roles
- Mental health issues
- Size of your family and the kind of attention that each child receives
What can You Do to Ensure Better Involvement in Early Childhood Education?
Children learn the best when their parents and teachers work in tandem to support them. Here are some practical and effective tips for improving parental involvement in ECE:
As a starting point, begin to:
- Establish clear communication channels with your child. Encourage them to talk to you without the fear of being judged.
- Let your child know that it is fine to make mistakes and ask as many questions. This helps build curiosity, confidence, and self-esteem in your child.
- Get to know their areas of interest.
- Inviting your child’s friends and their parents over also works as a great starting point in understanding their personalities.
- Know their teachers and other caregivers in school. Ask questions like ‘how is my child performing’, ‘what are the areas that they can improve in’, and ‘how can you support their learning at home’.
Taking a Wider Role
Once these preliminary touch points have been established, there are several ways to contribute more to your child’s early education. Some of these include:
Do Things Together
Doing things together gives your child a sense of support and confidence. Start with simple and enriching things such as reading together, playing games, listening to music, or even going for walks. These play-based activities help them learn how to explore, experiment and even solve problems.
Remember to make these activities stress-free for your child. Allow them to ask questions and let this time be an experience they cherish.
Supervise Their Behaviour
Once your child is out of school, it is the parent’s responsibility to keep an eye on their behaviour. Observe their habits and don’t hesitate to correct any behavioural issues that they may have.
Make sure that you give proper reasoning and talk to them openly instead of simply admonishing them.
Help with Their Schoolwork
Parents have a major role to play when it comes to completing school tasks on time. Encourage your child to discuss their homework with you. Help them maintain a routine by establishing a study zone. This will help them take responsibility for their homework without you having to finish it for them.
Take Them on Educational Trips
Your child may be learning concepts theoretically at school. As parents, you can make these concepts practical and fun. For instance, if your child is interested in history, take them to a museum. If they are learning about plants and animals, a zoo visit will help them apply knowledge to real-life environments.
Create an Appropriate Reward System
For children, encouragement and rewards for good performance work like magic. Don’t hesitate to reward them with something interesting and meaningful every time they get good scores. This will greatly help them in striving for better performance each time. Remember, not to overdo the rewards.
Focus on Their Health
A great way to support your child’s education is to ensure that they are healthy. To make sure that your child doesn’t fall sick often and is agile, offer them healthy food. Helping them become physically active is also vital. Encouraging active play will help develop their motor skills and make their bodies healthy.
Your baby is born with immense capabilities that start diminishing by the age of three, that is even before they start formal school. Therefore, the onus lies on the parents to expose the children to the world around them and introduce them to age-appropriate activities that can strengthen their neural connections. Raising Superstars offers a range of well-researched programmes that are specifically designed to boost your baby’s learning capabilities and enhance the talents and skills they are born with. So, what are you waiting for? Contact us today.