The role of parents in children’s education has been researched greatly in the last decade. The results point to a clear conclusion – early parental engagement at home boosts a child’s achievement in later years in primary school.
I often think that statements like this add a burden to the already anxious and guilt-prone modern parents. We have all been through that phase, where doubts about our parenting skills are our constant companion. But parental engagement is not rocket science. The term includes simple activities that most of us do at home anyway. Take for instance latest research from Canada that looked at the impact of specific literacy and numeracy activities
- Reading books
- Telling stories
- Singing songs
- Playing with alphabet toys (e.g., blocks with letters of the alphabet)
- Talking about things you had done
- Talking about what you had read
- Playing word games
- Writing letters or words
- Reading aloud signs and labels
- Saying counting rhymes or singing counting songs
- Playing with number toys (e.g., blocks with numbers)
- Counting different things
- Playing games involving shapes (e.g. shape sorting toys, puzzles)
- Playing with building blocks or construction toys
- Playing board games or card games
They did not only confirm that: Parental engagement in literacy and numeracy activities before children begin primary/elementary school is related to higher reading, mathematics, and science achievement
But surprisingly (or maybe not) they found that literacy activities are not only strongly related to students’ higher reading achievement, but also to higher science and mathematics performance.
The two top activities for achievement in all three disciplines was reading books and telling stories.
See? Parental engagement is not rocket science. But parenting, especially when taking care of preschoolers can be challenging and even simple activities with the children make some of us feel overwhelmed. Fortunately there is a wide range of opportunities out there to boost your child’s brainpower and give you in turn opportunities to socialize and meet like-minded parents.
Children Centre’s offer a variety of play-based activities – they often have weekly playgroups, as well as singing and story telling sessions. Most Centres have quality toys and encourage parent-child engagement and interaction.
Also check with your local community centre or church. They often offer playgroups run by experienced professionals at affordable prices. Lately, other venues have hosted activities for pre-schoolers – toy shops, craft shops, baby/children clothing shops. There is a wide range of services out there. Do your research and you will certainly find engaging activities for your little ones to feed their brains.