Research shows that a child’s learning and intellectual achievement before starting school is higher when there is parent involvement in their learning in the early childhood programme.
It is important for early childhood services to build strong connections with children’s parents and recognise the important role parents play as their child’s first and most enduring teacher.
Parents can be involved and have a say in what the early childhood service provides and does. Services must report to parents about their child’s learning and progress. But most importantly, parents must be allowed to enter the service when their child is attending, stay for as long as they wish with their child, be invited to participate in the programme, and be involved in their child’s learning.
What parents can do
When dropping off or picking your child spend some time (even 30 minutes a week can make a difference) engaging in an activity jointly with your child. It can be any activity or there might be something that your child wants to show you, for example how to build the tallest block tower.
At home, provide your child with a range of different experiences and hands-on learning activities. For example, some of the 30 experiences listed in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Child Study questionnaire believed to contribute to and reflect the cognitive development of children included: a bus ride, having been on a horse, visited a museum, and having been to a sports event. Listed activities included: having played in huts, swum or paddled in a pool, played with a pet, climbed trees or fences, and picked or planted flowers.
Search out information on child development. Learn what children around your child’s age are like and can usually do. Seek ideas for supporting your child to achieve more and develop further skills, knowledge, and interests.
Meet with other parents, go to a playgroup or seek out other opportunities to observe your child interacting and playing with other children and adults.
Parent education opportunities
More formal knowledge of child development theory and practical teaching skills can be obtained by enrolling your child at a Playcentre and undertaking the training offered
Ask the childcare or early childhood service if it offer the highly regarded and research based Early Reading Together® programme to parents to support their child’s language and literacy development.