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Parenting in the Early Years: The role of parents in early childhood education

"The first five years have everything to do with how the next 80 turn out." says Bill Gates.

The early years of a child's life lay the groundwork for future development. The foundation offers a solid foundation for cognitive and social growth, which is crucial for a lifelong learner. Skills in thinking, socialisation and communication are all crucial for holistic development that starts early in life. Youngsters can learn and develop their skills through early childhood education. According to science, young brains require a specific kind of simulation to develop properly. A child's emotional, social, and intellectual skills are improved through this simulation. Early childhood education is not overemphasised in our educational system.

"No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship," said James Comer

It is vital that everyone in contact with a child—parents, grandparents, caregivers—provide the child with lots of love, talking, playing, and singing to bring out the best in them and develop their full potential. Parents have a stronger influence on a child’s development. According to studies, the more parents participate, the higher the achievement level and the more acceptable behaviour in children. The role of parents is not restricted to some tasks. Rather, parents as partners in the learning process make the learning go beyond the classroom walls. This article focuses on the specific roles parents play in the early childhood education of their children and how crucial it is.

"A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark."

Two people leave a strong impression as educators in a child's life: the teacher and the parents. Parents are the first educators before a child starts attending a proper school. Life lessons should be introduced to children by their parents, and they significantly influence learning through school and beyond. Factors like socioeconomic status and the caregiver's emotional availability are crucial. Emotional availability is quite significant as it affects the relationship with the child. This support will further provide emotional stability and positive inspiration to the child. Apart from this, the level of a parent’s education is also important for the successful development of a child. If parents have a positive influence on their child’s everyday life, the outcome is going to be more beautiful and successful.

As rightly said by someone, a child’s first teacher is their mother. An excellent resource for forming a person's identity is their mother as an educator. The mother is critical to the child's physical, intellectual, and emotional growth. Leaving their familiar surroundings and entering the outside world can be particularly challenging for a child. In this case, the mother teaches her child by engaging in meaningful conversations. A mother's influence over a child grows to the point where the youngster exhibits her attitudes and behaviours. A mother should keep in touch with her child's instructor to stay informed, assist her child outside the classroom, and reinforce the lessons in a more supportive setting. The child learns more effectively and performs better as a result. The proper functioning development of a child is equally dependent on the father. Fathers make a significant difference in setting standards and pushing kids to perform their best work. The mother and the father are important in a child's existence to have an effectively raised human. Responsive parenting is important for a child's full social, emotional, and intellectual growth.

"No school can work well for children if parents and teachers do not act in partnership on behalf of the children’s best interests." - by Dorthy H. Cohen

It is recommended that children receive the right tools and teaching methods at the right developmental age. Studies show that practice is what causes our brains to follow patterns. This can be achieved when parents are involved in activities that a child experiences in a classroom, which gives the child a much stronger framework to build their knowledge. The school could send some activities home where there is a collaboration between the child and the parents, which will help strengthen the concepts learnt in the classroom. Sending a school newsletter could be another way to update and involve parents in the learning phase of a child. Arranging school trips with the parents to get a hands-on experience is another way to make learning more meaningful. The schools must encourage parents to participate in regular forums or conferences to give the children a feeling of support and motivate them further. The most effective way is through communication. A constant check with the child’s teacher on areas of improvement, progress, concerns, etc., will also help the parent meet the child's educational needs.

In conclusion, parental involvement in the early years of a child's life offers the best kind of support and encourages the child's early learning. The largest effect on children is their parents, who act as examples for them. Social, cognitive, and behavioural functioning are the three main areas of development, and they are all greatly influenced by a child's contact with a supportive parent. Parents must care for their children's overall development until they are autonomous and prepared to face the world. Children take after their parents' traits. To increase parental involvement in their children's early education, schools must give parents plenty of opportunities to comprehend a child's needs and learning style. They must also collaborate with the parents for the benefit of the child.

Author Bio: Aparna Manikantan is passionate and a creative teacher. She holds Master in Chemistry and Bachelor's in Education. For the past ten years, she has been teaching Chemistry to middle and high school students. She has varied experience teaching in different boards-IB, IGCSE, ICSE and CBSE.Currently, she is working for Indus Internation Pune. She strongly believes in teacher empowerment and aspires to have her own teacher training institute in future.

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