Nowhere does the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child," more aptly apply than to the division of educational roles between parent and teacher. In 1981, Missouri pioneered the program "Parents as Teachers," founded on the premise that a parent is the child's first and best teacher. However, each parent's role in education does not stop when the child enters school. The parent provides the foundation on which teachers are able to build further educational structures.
Head Start, a federally funded preschool program, and Parents as Teachers, an outreach program to parents, both recognize the importance of early childhood learning as preparation for a good educational experience. Head Start was created to bridge the gap between families who could afford preschool for their children and those who could not, because it was found that kindergartners who had preschool experience were more classroom-ready than their peers who had not attended preschool. Parents as Teachers recognizes the value of parents as a child's first teachers, and matches families with a parenting mentor who can make suggestions and provide parenting tools.
What Kids Get From Parents
Many parents actively teach their children life skills, but their example of how to live life may be even more important. If children see parents reading, they are more likely to want to read. If parents read aloud to them, children learn that books have stories and information that can be fun. If parents are organized and take care of things at home, the children are more likely to be organized. But most of all, parents provide emotional support and encouragement, and are their child's best advocate.
What Kids Get From Teachers
Teachers represent role models beyond those provided by parents. They introduce added knowledge and differing points of view. Classroom routines and expectations are the first step on the road to gaining and maintaining the ability to earn a living. The school provides a learning environment where your child's skills can be measured against the abilities of age peers. Classroom teachers are trained to spot any learning problems and to work with counselors to provide any assistance your child may need for educational success.
The partnership between parents and teachers is not always an easy one to maintain, but it is essential to the educational process. Parents can take an active part by checking notes sent home by the teacher, talking with their child about school and attending school events. Teachers can send home positive communication about children, as well as notes about deficiencies or problems. Regular calls to parents, suggesting Web pages or even e-mails can develop a communication bridge that is beneficial to the child.
- Parents as Teachers: Vision and History
- ECAP Collaborative: Parent-Teacher Partnerships: a Theoretical Approach for Teachers
- Santa Barbara Charter School: Roles: Teacher - Parent - Student - Community
- The Hindu: Child Development: Role of Parents and Teachers
- Washington University, St. Louis: Parent-Teacher Partnership Can Play Significant Role in Child’s Education
- Office of Head Start
- Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images