What is a parent to do?

Imagine you are a 5-year-old, entering formal education [kindergarten] for the first time. You have heard 30 million MORE words than your classmate sitting right next to you. How does that increased exposure impact you? How does the lack of exposure impact your classmate?

According to many recent articles, it plays quite a significant role in a child’s future progress in social and emotional skills, along with literacy in all its varied forms. So where do parents fit into this equation? It all depends on the home learning environment. And for too many children in this country, there isn’t an overly positive one, for any number of reasons.

What supports are in place to help parents foster a more positive home learning environment? There are community-based workshops, which may or may not be effective. There are web sites, brochures, and in-home visits, also with minimal impact or real sustainability in producing change. However, change of this type is not uncommon in adults, and other job training programs often show similar results and share similar concerns.

Do parents intentionally shy away from learning how to better impact their children’s lives or improve the home environment? Doubtful. So what is the problem? It may be lack of attention to a particular area, but also a matter of choice, or too many choices. It all seems to boil down to creating a way for parents to navigate the wealth of information to make the best decisions possible.

Educators, beware. Parents aren’t secretly keeping their best kids at home. What can we do to help bridge the gap, and work WITH parents, for the overall benefit of their children?

For more specific information and references to the research, visit the original article – Helping parents help their children

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