Archive for October 16th, 2007

Oct 16 2007

Parents Are Our Children’s Best Teacher

As a nation, we need to do a better job of educating our parents that we are our children’s first and best teacher. After all, we were the ones who taught them how to eat, drink, walk, and respond back to the call of their names.

In my experience as an early childhood education author, advocate and mother of two; I’ve witnessed far too many parents fear “teaching” when they send their child to pre-school. I don’t see that parents fall victim to laziness; rather they fall victim to not knowing the unknown. Parents start to feel that they no longer have the skills and abilities to keep up with the educational standards and techniques to teach their child correctly. And, the higher their child proceeds through the primary grades, the parent becomes less and less involved in the education of their most beloved child.

We need this to stop!

Remember when learning was fun?

One of my most memorable “educational” moments happened in the bowling alley when I was 5 years old. I was with my friend Steve Barnaby and his older sister Laurie. Laurie was taking Spanish in school and decided to teach us how to count to 10 in Spanish.  To this day, I can recite 1-10 in Spanish, without any problems.  Ask me what I retained from a semester in high school and college; my answer…“No Habla Español!” 

Why does my mind retain what I learned in 30 minutes when I was 5?  It’s because I retained the memory of a fun game and the laughter shared. I remember our parents being equally excited and proud of us as well. We felt satisfaction and joy, rather than a bored lesson plan and structured reading assignment.

As a nation, we need to break the myths that our preschool teachers are babysitters and our Kindergarten teacher will teach them to become good students.  The shift in education is apparent as more families choose to home school.  The old stereotype of the isolated home-schooled child is no longer a reality.  Homeschool groups provide unlimited networking opportunities for social and sporting activities; and teachers at home and school are realizing the importance of making learning fun! 

I thank all the homeschool parents who have inspired me to bring a home school mentality to our family. Even though we have opted for a different route, I know I’m my child’s ultimate teacher and I must foster learning anytime of the day wherever we are. 

A teacher leading a lecture at the podium may be appropriate for large core classes in college; but that’s years away from elementary school.

A perfect example of an interactive parent-teacher-student lesson plan is when a teacher invited her students’ home for a day of cooking to end their unit in fractions.  She had parent helpers, permission slips and buses. Undoubtedly, the students retained their understanding of fractions. I know it would have helped me.  To this day, I get a pained look on my face when I think about fractions, one of dread and gloom.  While not all teachers can host children in their homes nationwide, we as parents can introduce fractions while we’re preparing our daily dinners and make learning fun for the whole family.

I challenge our nation’s parents to remain confident in their roles as their child’s first and best teachers. Involving our children in our daily duties and responsibilities can be a fun learning experience for everyone involved.

Copyright 2007, Stacey Kannenberg, Cedar Valley Publishing, Author of Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready For First Grade!

Pairing household chores and errands with learning can be both fun and productive.  In what ways do you make learning fun for your child? 

275 responses so far