The importance of family involvement for a child's success is becoming clearer every minute. According to the Harvard Family Research Project, children whose parents read to them at home recognize letters earlier than those whose parents do not, and the positive effects of parental support continue throughout the academic years. While you may know how important it is to be involved, it is normal to be unsure of where to begin. As your child enters a child care program, use these strategies to bridge the gap between school and home.
Communicate With Your Child's Teacher
It is important to view your child's teacher as a partner in their learning. Make time to attend parent-teacher conferences, and arrive with an open mind. If necessary, jot down any questions you have about your child's progress to ensure that all of your concerns are covered. Teachers in child care programs also use multiple methods of communication such as email, letters home and websites so be sure to ask which method your child's teacher uses most often. This way, you can find out with a quick glance what your child is learning.
Extend the Lesson Plan
Teachers in quality child care centers use lesson plans to guide the children's learning. Find out where the lesson plan for your child's classroom is located, and check it regularly. Notice the titles of books they are reading, the weekly theme and any basic concepts they are learning. Then, work this information into your home activities. For example, you could do a paint mixing activity to support your child's recognition of colors, or you could draw a picture about a book they read in class.
Use Meaningful Talk With Your Child
As a parent, few things are as frustrating as asking your child what they did at school and hearing them just say, "play." Fortunately, you can draw out more information and support your child's developing vocabulary by making conversations more meaningful. According to NAEYC, repeating your child's response and extending it with an open-ended question helps encourage them to tell you more about their experiences.
Getting involved in your child's learning is the best way to help them get the most out of their child care program. Together, you and their teacher can fill your child's day with a variety of learning experiences that all work together. By finding out more about what your child learns during the day, you can bring those concepts home and reinforce their understanding of new ideas. Click here for more information.
After I graduated from high school, I went straight to college, even though I was very unsure of what career field I wanted to enter. I completed my four years and earned a degree that helped me secure a job relatively quickly. However, I soon learned that the career I chose was unfulfilling for me, but the thought of going back to learn something new just seemed too overwhelming. I wanted to enter the field of healthcare, and one day I got a flyer in the mail from a local nursing school that offered certificate programs that only took a year to complete. I felt like it was "fate," and I was soon enrolled in evening classes. I really like helping others, so I want to help others make good educational decisions. I plan to post tips for people of all ages on my new education blog!