The most important teachers in a child’s life are their families at home. Although children spend a large amount of their time at school, it is not a replacement for the learning, love, encouragement, and reinforcement they receive from family and personal support systems. Ask any classroom teacher you know, and they will reassure you that families make the largest impact on a child’s development inside and outside the classroom.
A family’s impact on education is endless. Here are a few important examples of the role family takes in a student’s educational experience:
1. Encouragement and attitudes towards learning:
Children listen to, and absorb the attitudes of the people around them. When the adults in their life are encouraging and positive about school, they internalize those feelings. Everyone will have frustrations and challenges, but children benefit from having models that show how to confront challenges with a positive attitude and work ethic.
Modeling goes beyond just the attitudes towards learning, but also the application of values in their everyday lives. Children look to their families for models for their own behaviors, work ethic, and core values. Do they see their family reading at home? Do they read together? Students see and learn that their family values literacy. Do they see a model of failure as a learning opportunity? They learn that it is okay to fail! Failure is not the end if you look for how to learn from your challenges, and bring a willingness to try again. These positive models will become the tools students use as they move through their educational careers.
2. Reinforcement and creating opportunity for generalizing skills:
Families reinforce skills and create opportunities for practice at home. To generalize a skill means students can take an academic or functional life skill and apply it in multiple settings. To fully master a skill, students must be able to perform it successfully in multiple settings. Families can create space for learning and practice at home.
A simple example would be a student who is learning about shapes in the classroom. In the classroom setting they may see posters, read books using shape vocabulary, complete projects where they create shapes, or use toys in the classroom. A teacher can present shape identification in many ways. So how can a student work to generalize shape identification at home? Families can support shape identification at home by using shape vocabulary in conversation, asking the child to find and identify shapes in their home, draw shapes on the sidewalk together, or discuss the shapes they see on their dinner plate. These learning opportunities at home help students connect lessons from the classroom to their everyday experiences.
Communication between families and educators is an important factor in a child’s education and success. A good line of communication between families and educators ensures that everyone is working towards the same goals. They can work together to identify the most important areas of need, and create an approach that works inside and outside the classroom. Teachers and families are a team, a team is only successful when they communicate.
Teachers and families all want to see student success. Understanding that everyone has important roles in educational and personal growth of each student is vital. Teachers, families, and friends are all a part of the educational team that moves students forward!
Balancing the educational growth of a child can be a challenge for all people in a child’s life. There are many ways to continue consistent teachings from school to home. Try a balance scale! Weighing objects is a great way for children to learn about size, weight, and the concepts of less and more, plus, a balance scale can be utilized at school and at home. It’s a great, hands-on way for children to learn through play! Click the link below to check out The Adventurous Child Balance Scale.
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