We have two really good schools nearby. Before my son started his schooling, we went to visit them both. The first school boasted with great educational achievements; the second, much smaller one, promised creative engagement and play. Needless to say, we went along with the second option. I strongly believe that so long as you love learning, you can grasp any content. After all, I studied at a Soviet school in a small rural town in Azerbaijan. If anything, I had to un-learn a lot of things they taught me at school, leaning heavily into my passion for learning.
So today I have a special guest on my blog, who has an important message to parents and educators of young children. Please, give a warm welcome to Norah Colvin, who has got a wealth of experience and resources to support early childhood learning through play and creativity. I love giving back to my community, and Norah has been a huge support and inspiration throughout my blogging journey. (Not a member of my community yet? Please, join here.) Enjoy!
Congratulations on teaching your child to speak!
Easy wasn’t it?
Did you know that parents are their children’s first and most important teachers?
By the time children start school some of their most important learning has already been accomplished.
• They have learned to walk and talk, to interact with others, and to recognise and name family members and friends.
• They know their way around their home and other places they frequent.
• They recognise features of their neighbourhood.
• They have acquired a great deal of knowledge about their environment and the world.
All this they have learned without formal instruction.
Now that they are starting school, with your continued support, teachers will guide your children through the next stages of their learning journey.
In their years before school you encouraged your children’s learning by:
• talking to them
• playing with them
• reading stories to them
• giving them time and space to grow and develop at their own pace.
Parents, as your child’s first teachers, you are to be congratulated for laying these foundations for learning.
Starting school is not a time to stop doing all these wonderful things. Rather it’s a time to work together with the teachers to help the learning continue by showing interest in what your children are doing and learning, forging a strong partnership between the school and home.
It is also important to foster positive attitudes to school. The attitudes children have already formed about themselves as learners and to school will have an enormous impact on how well they adjust to the school situation and to learning.
Attitudes that will be of great benefit to your children’s learning and progress include:
Confidence–an “I can” attitude with a willingness to have a go, to try something new, and to not give up if not successful on a first attempt.
Curiosity–a willingness to investigate and explore, and to ask and answer questions.
Friendliness–kind and empathetic, aware of the effect of their actions on the feelings of others.
Persistence–prepared to see difficult or unpleasant tasks through to the end.
Organised–the ability to look after, and recognise their name on, their belongings.
Resilience–an understanding that they can choose their feelings and do not have to be influenced by hurtful words or actions of others.
Mindfulness–able to quiet their mind and be calm in the present moment.
Realise that every child is unique. Celebrate who your children are, what has been already achieved and the learning journey about to begin. Have a firm belief and expectation that your children will learn; but be patient with their learning and don’t expect it all to happen at once.
Schooling is a great adventure, one you should all enjoy.
These notes are taken from the Help your child read newsletters 1 – 10, that can be printed and distributed to parents–available from readilearn.
Norah Colvin is an educator and writer. Having taught in early childhood and primary classrooms for many years, she now shares her passion for early childhood education through readilearn, a website of teaching resources for use with children in their first three years of school.
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