The Crucial Role Parents Play in a Child's Education

“Are we calling the achievement gap academic so schools are accountable instead of parents?” asked Licensed Parent Educator Katy Smith, who got the audiences' wheels spinning during a Rasmussen College Early Childhood Education (ECE) Summit June 19. “I’m not saying I know the answer to that question, but it’s definitely something I’m wondering about."

Smith spent her presentation explaining the importance of a parent in a child’s education to a room full of people interested in ECE, including members from the Minnesota state government, as well as ECE experts. There were also members there from the MnAEYC, National Association of Family Child Care, Rasmussen College students, KU, Head Start, state legislators, school districts, ThinkSmall, Department of Education, Department of Health, House-Early Childhood Policy, and university and technical colleges.  There were approximately 50 guests in attendance. 

“The point of this summit was to continue the conversation around high quality education,” said Cecelia Westby, School of Education dean. “Our goal is to create high quality ECE professionals, and the summit helped to expand students’ frame of reference beyond college or where they work. It helped them to realize they can be advocates for ECE.”

Smith has been a very great advocate for ECE and was able to share some of her experiences with the audience. Since she works closely with parents, her focus is greatly on the parent-child relationship and how it affects a child’s education.

Week of the Young ChildTalk with Your Children

“Talking with your children on a daily basis is important,” Smith said. “Children have to be able to explain how their day went, and parents need to know how they can do the same thing at home that the children did in school.”

Children Must Know Self-Regulation

Children need self-regulation, and it's actually twice the predictor of academic success than actual intelligence, Smith said.

“We’ve moved the mark in kindergarten,” Smith said. “We need to acknowledge that kindergarten has changed and looks more like first grade. Kids need to be parented, and they want to be parented.”

Too Much Media is Just Plain Bad

Smith stresses children need to read, read, read, as well as have parents read to them. She said it’s important for children to have books read to them as early as 18 months, and to create an environment where children feel comfortable discussing words they don’t know at the dinner table.

Try to keep a regular routine and structure for children and reading. If you do so, it will pay you back as a parent all of the time, Smith said.

Questions to consider:

  • How do we infuse parent education into the education process?
  • Who are the adults children are spending time with?
  • How do we support those kids?

Jennifer Pfeffer

Jennifer is a Content Marketing Specialist at Collegis Education who researches and writes articles on behalf of Rasmussen College. She is passionate about learning and higher education and enjoys writing engaging content to help current and future students on their path to a rewarding education.


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