Parents play an integral role in a child’s educational journey and the way they do this from the early years has a huge impact on children’s navigation throughout their academic years.
According to Desiree Hugo, the Academic Head: Schools Division at ADVTECHthe secret lies in teaching children to associate learning with empowerment.
This will help them grow and prosper throughout their school careers, especially now that the workload starts to mount.
Parents should start building the foundations for future academic success from the moment their children enter Grade 1, with a focus on cultivating a love of learning.
They should help children navigate the early years with humor and enthusiasm to ensure that the learning and discovery process creates positive associations in the brain, rather than fear or despondency.
A daily connection routine
There may not be much homework in the early school years, but parents should put the tie aside to connect with their kids and focus on the day’s activities.
Talking about what was done at school that day and reading together gives children a natural routine to build on what they have learned.
This positive response from the family can be fun, clearly causing the child to associate learning with empowerment, which pays off later.
In addition to the daily connection routine, parents should also help children build skills that may be required of them later in their school career.
According to Hugo, these include:
When it comes to a child’s diet, sleep, and exercise, it is a parent’s duty to teach them the good of the good. Unhealthy habits and routines can manifest in a child’s general disposition and academic commitment, so instilling good habits (including limiting screen time) is very important, not just now, but in the long run.
Children should learn the meaning of ‘practice makes perfect’ at an early age. The sooner the better. Parents should help their children put things into context.
For many children – especially the more sensitive ones – little things that go wrong have a big impact. They need to learn that while they may not have mastered it yet, it doesn’t mean they can’t. Use the daily connection routine to talk your child through this and help him understand the concept of “not yet, but soon.”
Parents need to rein in their competitiveness and comparing nature. Children pick up on parental behavior easily when it comes to not measuring up to their peers, which can cause a downward spiral in motivation and confidence.
The early years are part of a developmental phase where children must be given the space to experiment and explore, discover and hone their skills.
Parents need to give children the time and space to do just that without pressuring them. It’s okay not to get a perfect score on every spelling quiz.
Success lies in letting your child focus on mastery rather than achievement.
If you notice that your child is struggling in class, it may be worth talking to the teacher or a counselor to determine if it may be necessary to look at a unique learning style.
There are several approaches to learning and the sooner your child finds the style that works best, the better.
Also consider your child’s learning environment, which should be a determining factor when choosing a school.
Do thorough research, talk to other parents, visit the school, find out what their approach entails and how they enable your child’s academic (and emotional) success.
Teneo Online School is the largest online primary and secondary school in Africa and has enrolled 54 Grade R students this year. This is a very different learning environment, but seems to work well for many.
For mom, Marelise de Beer, the transparency of online education was a game-changer for both her Grade R and Grade 8 sons.
“It’s not like regular school where you ask your kid how his day was and all he’ll say is ‘nothing happened’ or that they’ve ‘just done schoolwork’. As parents, we now have complete clarity about what our child has learned in class every day. We know what has been discussed in class and what homework has been given. I also like that all lessons are recorded and can be watched back.”
This could help parents create an even stronger connection routine with their children, as they can ask better and more informed questions to initiate enjoyable engagement.
Building an educational foundation for a child is a huge parenting responsibility – something you should invest in from the start.
A daily connection routine can help you connect with your child often, which is probably one of the best things you can do whether you’re in Grade 1 or Grade 12. Parents must be present.