Parental Involvement in Early Education: A Review of the Literature
A child’s first teacher is his or her mother and father. As a parent, involvement in the education process in the early years includes engaging the child through age appropriate games, regular reading, and simply interacting on a daily basis. A child that is engaged in this way are set up to develop into students who succeed academically. Once that child attends school, parental involvement shows that the parent places value on education. Furthermore, “staying connected to the classroom gives you ideas of how to expand what she learns at school,” (Driscoll & Nagel, 2010) thus providing parents with additional tools to implement in the home to continue the teaching process even after the school day has ended.
It is very important that schools and other education programs support family engagement in the child’s learning process. This review will examine the literature surrounding parental involvement in early childhood education specifically those looking at all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Family involvement today goes far beyond attending parent-teacher conferences, awards ceremonies, and chaperoning on school field trips. Educator’s expectations for parental involvement has changed, and there is a plethora of research that proves that involvement of parents in early childhood education is essential to the success of students. Research points to the following three points as the main reasons why parental involvement in early childhood education is important and beneficial:
1. Parents are the child’s first educators
2. Parents have the greatest effect on their child’s learning
3. When parents partner with educators, it’s a benefit to the child
In their study, Duke University and the University of North Carolina outlined the mechanisms by which parental engagement affected the achievements of students in their education. Nancy Hill and Lorraine Taylor pointed out that there are two mechanisms by which parental involvement promotes academic achievement: increasing social capital and social control. The idea behind increasing social capital is essentially an increase in parent skills as well as information which will, in the long-run, better prepare parents to help children outside of school. “As parents establish relationships with school personnel, they learn important information about the school’s expectations for behavior and homework; they also learn how to help with homework and how to augment children’s learning at home” (Hill & Taylor, 2004). Social control, according to Hill and Taylor, occurs when families and schools work together to build a consensus about acceptable behavior that is then communicated to children at school and at home. They also noted that school involvement is defined also “volunteering at school, communicating with teachers and other school personnel, assisting in academic activities at home, and...