It’s no secret that a child’s education plays a significant role in her development during early childhood and is a determining factor in her success as an adult. Helping young children to acquire the skills they need to progress and develop along the prescribed timeline is one of a parent’s most important jobs. Understanding the role that parents play in the development and expansion of new skill sets in early childhood allows you to work more closely with the preschool or child development center program you’ve chosen, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the curriculum and reinforcing lessons learned on a daily basis.
Communicating with Teachers and Administrators
As the parents of a little one who’s enrolled in a child development program, you are essentially the liaison between your child and her teachers or center administrators. Your preschooler may not have the vocabulary or the inclination to explain to you that there are areas in which she is struggling, or subjects in which she needs additional attention. The teachers and instructors who work with her every day, however, will be both able and eager to give you progress reports and relevant information about your child’s development. In addition to having a more accurate view of her academic, cognitive and physical development, you’ll also be able to learn more about her conduct and areas within the scope of social interaction and skill where she may be in need of extra help.
Maintaining Progress at Home
Working closely with the teachers and aides at your child’s preschool or early childhood development center allows you to get an accurate view of not only what’s expected of her there, but what she’s capable of at home. Your child will live up, or down, to the expectations you’ve set for her. If she’s responsible for clearing away her own place after meals, hanging up her own jacket and putting away art supplies after a lesson at her preschool, that means that she’s clearly able to perform those tasks with some degree of accuracy. Operating under the misapprehension that your child isn’t capable of doing some things for herself can have detrimental effects on her development, simply because she’s not exercising the skills she’s learning at preschool at home. Building a functional relationship with your child’s teachers and program administrators allows you to form a more accurate view of her capabilities, and helps you adjust her routine at home accordingly. Parents who wish to take an active role in their child’s progress through a developmental program should also take the time to learn what’s being covered under the lesson plan and what’s up next on the curricular agenda. Make a point of working on those skills at home, too. If your little one is learning how to write her name in preschool, she should be practicing at home to hone her motor skills and boost the muscle memory and letter recognition that will fuel her progress. Remember, education and learning don’t stop the minute your child walks out the door of her preschool or child development center.
Choosing the Right Childhood Development Program
Working with your child’s teachers and taking an interest in her progress through a child development program is essential, but it’s even more important that you make the correct initial investment by choosing the right program and center. Priscilla Williams, who holds a degree in Child Psychology and Early Childhood Development and is the President of the Especially for Children network of nationally accredited child development centers in Minnesota, states that “selecting a childcare center that has national accreditation will provide parents assurance that the center has programs that properly address all the important developmental goals for your preschooler.” By making sure that you’ve chosen an accredited center with a strong curriculum, you’ll be actively investing in the first step of your child’s long and illustrious academic career. Remember that this is just the beginning of your child’s journey along the essential path of education, and take steps to ensure that the program introducing her to the concept of school and learning is one that will make a positive impact on her. The ASCD, formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, asserts that preschool is “the most important grade,” and that their research confirms the long-term benefits of participation in such programs. By choosing one that is both accredited and of a high quality, you’re actively fulfilling the important goal of providing your child with the tools she needs to succeed throughout elementary school, high school and beyond.
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