Editorial: Teach parents to teach their childrenPublished 10:36am Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Kindergarten for many children is around the corner. School starts next month in Minnesota and later this month in Iowa.
If you are a parent with a child going into kindergarten, or if you have a preschool-age child, there are certain skills your child needs to possess:
• Does your child know the alphabet? Can they identify letters by sight?
• Can your child recognize shapes such as squares, circles, triangles and rectangles?
• Does your child know numbers? Can they recognize numbers by sight?
• Can the child count to 10? Even 12? Perhaps 20?
• Has your child spent quality time with other children the same age? How about on a daily basis?
The reason we bring these matters up is that perhaps more than any other grade, the skill levels students exhibit coming into a school system ranges greatly.
Some students have had the advantages of parents who push their children to learn more and can afford preschool education or at least were eligible to enroll their children in a Head Start program.
However, some parents keep their kids at home, do little to educate them at an early age and don’t give them enough social time with children their age. They end up coming to kindergarten A. behind the other kids in basic knowledge and B. behind the other kids in social skills.
To many grown-ups, such differences might seem trivial. Adults often reflect on what they knew as children and when they learned the alphabet. But what school was like then is not what it is like now.
The fact is, the children lagging behind the others are more than likely to stay that way. In other words, some of the most important years in education are the ones before children even enter the school district.
And because of this, it behooves the community — not just the school district — to come up with efforts to teach parents just how important it is to teach their children well early on.
We look forward to efforts to get something moving in Albert Lea on educating parents about the importance of teaching young children and getting them socially prepared — not just for kindergarten, but for life.