Original Post: April 12, 2012
It is that time of year again where promises are made, sound bites are replayed and polls are taken on which promise the American public believes the most. One hot national, state and local topic is always “EDUCATION”. Everyone knows what is wrong with it and everyone has an idea on how to fix it, charter schools, private schools, salaries tied to testing, laying off “bad” teachers, teach to the test I could go on and on and on. My 8+ years in the school system has taught me that all the things people point out are legitimate but the one thing most people fail to address is parenting. We can coat the apple with wax, use brighter light in the store however if the core is rotten the apple will be difficult to eat. Learning begins at birth.
A Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University article reported that “early experiences determine whether a child’s brain architecture will provide a strong or weak foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health. The interaction of genes and experience shapes the architecture of the developing brain, and the active agent is the “serve and return” nature of children’s relationships with the important adults in their lives.”
Parents and care givers who are interact with children prior to them entering school helps lay the foundation for a strong academic future. The reality is that schools have more money today than when I went to school and yet students are failing at a higher rate. Teachers are made to take more continuing eduction than when I went to school, yet students are still failing. Modes of learning have multiplied and yet our students are still failing. The one thing that has not improved as I have gotten older is the adult-child interactions.
Throughout my career I’ve found that many parents do not know how to actively engage their children. I believe that to help rebuild the educational system we would have to begin in the beginning when parents take home their little ones. Most, if not all, hospitals will not release your child if you do not have a car restraint seat. It’s is time for our society to release our children with the proof that parents understand and are taught how to facilitate meaningful interactions with their children. This can be done.
Most hospitals have La Leche League on site to help parents with breastfeeding. Well it’s time to have “The Core” on site to help with explaining language development, to teach parents how to interact with their babies. We rent breast pumps from the hospital how about handing out plastic baby books. The League will even give you follow up. Why can’t we follow up on parents and give them support in development. If a parent is receiving government assistance is too much to tie assistance with education courses in parenting, continuing education and job training. It’s time for legislators to stop thinking of privatizing education and begin educating the primary educators, parents. It’s time school districts engage parents in education well before “kindergarten round up”. How much could we save by not having to buy “new and improved” ways to teach the same basic skills to our struggling students.
If our society continues to overlook this critical component in education, fail to demand parental accountability and to educate parents on the importance of child development from birth to 5 years old, then we will continue to see a decline in academic performance, an increase in students in special education and the continuous crumble of the public school system. If the core (parent) is healthy and strong, the outside appearance (money, modes) will only be an added bonus.
The reality is without parents our children are destined to be left behind.
For great ideas on building language and other skills visit icanteachmychild.com She has wonderful creative ideas to help enhance all those wonderful growing moments. The moments that help build a strong foundation.
For an interesting look at brain development visit The Harvard Center. It has a wonderful series entitled Three Core Concept in Early Development with a series of short videos describing the brain, it’s development and how vital parent/caregiver early meaningful interactions are.
What do you think is the most significant aspect of education.