The foundation that a child receives when he or she is still young is the determining factor of his success. Parents and guardians who realize this importance at an early stage and start investing in their children’s education will face minimal problems. Children have different abilities to learn and remember what they are taught in class. It is usually the role of the parent to identify the potentials that are in their children so that they can provide the necessary support. There are some children who are first learners yet there are others who may take time to grasp even the simplest things. Once the parent is aware of such weaknesses and abilities in the child, they will give them the best foundation so that they do not experience future problems. Researches have revealed that the children that have difficulties in reading and writing during their early stages may continue experiencing similar problems when they grow up.
One of the main speech problems in growing children is the pronunciation of words. This speech aspect is usually referred to as a phoneme which can be described as the smallest unit of a speech. The sound of a letter is determined by the word context. The child should therefore be aware of the different sounds in a word. Most children are aware of the phonemic but not the letter representing the sound. For the children to be able to effectively read and understand, they have to be taught how to decode and comprehend the words (Hall, 2003). Decoding is about pronouncing a word in the most appropriate way, and comprehension is about understanding the meaning of the word.
The government of the United States has realized the importance of giving children the best foundation so as to reduce the problems of illiteracy. From 1993, the government initiated an education system ‘reading recovery’. This program aims at assisting the children who have difficulties in reading during their early education. In this program, the pupils are taken care of on an individual basis with intensive half hour session with specialized teachers for twenty weeks. This program has provided the best alternative to assist the children with a report of drastic improvements in their performance. After a period of twelve weeks the children had caught up with their colleagues and could handle similar test without any difficult. However, the program is slightly expensive because; it can only assist limited number of pupils who can afford it. The government had to incur extra expenses to train the teachers for this program. The number of children benefiting from this program has also been reducing by forty percent since 1998 (Claire, 2003). Due to this, there have been three suggested waves that help the underachievers. In the first wave, all children will be included in the first quality teaching programs. In the second wave, additional interventions will be put in place to assist the children to work as per their respective ages or even above. In the third wave, more interventions that are highly personalized will be employed to assist the identified children.
The role of parents
Parents are the very first people that the child meets. In their early childhood development, they gain most of the influence from their parents. There are three forms of parental cognitions that will have an influence on the early child’s education, they include; the aspirations of a mother for her child, the perceptions of the school where the child is going to learn and the self-efficacy of the child. If a mother has high aspirations for her child, she will do everything in her capacity to ensure that the child gets the best education. She will closely monitor how the progress of her child’s performance in school is and assist her to do the assignment. On the contrary, when a parent has little expectations from her child, it will be revealed by how much resources she invests towards her child’s education (Roberts, 2006). They may not be particular about the kind of schools they send their children into, whether they offer quality education or not.
Parents who value education of their children will choose to invest a lot of finances and resources on them. This will include taking them to schools that are known to offer high quality education and buying their kids all study materials that they feel will be beneficial to the child. They also establish close relations with the teachers and the administrators of the school. This is usually done with the aim of getting the necessary feedback on the behavior of the child at school. Apart from the education that the children receive from school, they will offer supplementary knowledge to them by buying them story books to enhance their written and spoken language. They assist them in pronunciation of words and ensure the best influence around them.
Parents who achieved higher levels of education in their lives desire that their children aim even higher than them. Such parents may do so due to the fact that they understand the value of high quality education and they will therefore implant the same in their children at an earlier stage. Parents who could not achieve higher education goals in their lives due to some reasons that were beyond their control will ensure that their children do not go through the similar challenges. They will sacrifice their resources and ensure that their children achieve what they missed. On the other and, the parents who did not value education during their time may not understand its importance even to their children. Such parents usually take the children to school as a formality and may not pay much attention to their success (Claire, 2003).
The role of teachers
As parents offer the general back up to the child’s success, the teacher offers the basic knowledge needed by the child to succeed in school. Children are usually entrusted to their teachers by the parents because of the fact that, they are trained to handle the educational requirements of children from elementary school up to higher education. Compared to parents, the teachers usually follow a systematic approach to offer knowledge in accordance with different levels of development of the children. The teacher is in a better position to gauge the capability of the child as he or she can gauge performance through comparison. Through participation of the child in various activities, the teacher can assist in identifying and shaping the child’s character. He or she is also endowed with the responsibility of developing talents that she may identify in the child.
When in school, a child will meet with other children who have different characters. It is therefore the role of the teacher to offer disciplinary measures that will protect the child from acquiring some characters that are not right. The teacher also acts as a second guardian to the child and should develop keen interest on the child’s growth and report any alarming behavior of the child to the parents for appropriate action. Teachers tend to ignore the children that seem to learn at a slower pace than the rest. This may have diverse effect on their academic growth as they may not have a clear understanding of what is happening. Children with special learning needs should be given extra attention to ensure that they equally benefit from the resources provided.
The role of the school
A school is an environment that determines the success of a child. Different schools have different learning facilities that have great contribution towards the excellence of a child. Due to the different facilities, the quality of education will differ accordingly. A school is also a place of interaction for both the children and the teacher. When a child is taken to school, he is promoted to a higher level of interaction, where he or she needs to adjust to a different environment of more people. This is the starting point of a child’s exposure to the future (Roberts, 2006). The school administration needs to ensure that, the school is equipped with adequate facilities that will enhance the growth of the child. Apart from providing education materials, the schools provide facilities that will ensure that, the child’s social life is not compromised. During his or her early growth, a child’s intellect is mostly determined by her social life. Playing facilities are therefore a priority in early childhood institutions. These institutions provide a wide variety of playing equipments that are suitable for different age groups.
Through the different co-curricular activities that the institutions organize, the children can be helped to identify their talents and be shaped accordingly. The school administration is supposed to ensure that the environment is conducive enough by providing quality staff for quality results. Specialized teachers are required to supervise these developments and ensure that there is balance between the child’s social growth and the academic growth.
Some of the learning methods that are employed in classes for early childhood involve the use of figures in studying. The observation ability in children helps them to develop graphical representation of figures before drawing them. It is for this reason that most childhood lessons will involve the use of figures to educate the child. Children are more impressed with the physical figures that are around them and when these figures are used to educate them, the learning process becomes more interesting. Careful attention should be given to the students needs to ensure that the learning process is not boring to them.
Most of the facilities that are available to provide quality education are mostly limited to the children with privileged backgrounds. This may cause a threat to the quality of education of those with poor backgrounds. To minimize this gap, the government of the United States has initiated programs that are aimed at supporting parents from such backgrounds as their first educators. They are given parenting skills to ensure that their children have a good educational foundation. Among the interventions that have been developed to promote early childhood education is the Raising Early Achievement in Literacy Project (REAL). This is a project that is to be implemented in two phases that targets parents in the preschool period. In the first phase, parents are required to give the children learning opportunities, recognize their achievements in early literacy, and interact with their children to enhance their literacy activities and to provide models for literacy use. In the second phase of the project, the assessment of children was done before and after the program using two instruments; The British Picture Vocabulary Scale (BPVS) and The Sheffield Early Literacy Development Profile (SELDP). The results of these programs proved the importance of parents in developing high literacy levels in their children (Claire, 2003).
Peers early education partnership (PEEP) is another intervention that may be employed by the government to promote early childhood education. The intervention targets the children below the age of five. The aim of this program is to develop a positive change in the achievements of education in the community from the time a child is born until that time when he or she joins school. The objectives of this program include; promoting the awareness of parents concerning their children in early life through their daily activities, to support the parents in improving the child’s self esteem, to emphasize to parents that they have a role to play in establishing the child’s education, assist parents in their effort to develop the literacy and numeric power in their children, help parents instill positive learning attitudes in their children at an early age and to promote the lifelong learning abilities of the children. This program uses the ORIM framework which stands for Opportunities, Recognition, Interaction and Modeling. It recognizes that a child needs to listen, talk and play in order for him to develop emotionally, socially and physically.
Despite the many challenges that the parents may face while bringing up their children, they need to ensure that those situations do not have an adverse effect on the child’s education. Through the various initiatives of the government, the parents are supported in various ways to ensure that, the environment that a child grows in will not affect their education. In amidst of their negative circumstances, the parents can show love and care to their children. They should avoid expressing behaviors that will make the children feel ignored and unloved. Children at an early age are sensitive to the emotional behavior of their parents towards them and they may comprehend issues faster than their parents may think.
Through the above initiatives the government ensures that, by the time a child joins school, he or she is equipped to face the demands of higher levels of education. When the parents are made aware of their contributions in their children’s early life, they will take the appropriate measures to ensure that, children develop good behavior as they grow up. When they take the responsibility of enhancing the education of their children, closeness will be developed between them, which will exist throughout their lives. When children have the support of their parents, they will develop confidence in them which will make them run to them for consultation concerning all maters in order to be assisted. Parent-child relationship needs to be developed at such an early stage to avoid the complications during the youthful stage. They will grow with a strong spirit of responsibility and hard work from a tender age (Roberts, 2006).
- Claire E. (2003): Teaching and learning in preschool: International Reading Assoc
- Hall N. (2003): Handbook of Early Childhood Literacy: SAGE publications
- Roberts G. (2006): Enabling Recovery: RCPsych