When Parents Lead, Children Succeed

Educate Parents First, Student Excellence Will Follow

Educate Parents First, Student Excellence Will Follow

Hosted By:
Elane V. Scott
Featured Guest:
Sean Geoghegan

Dear Stakeholder Leaders,

For years, a loud, vocal commitment to “early childhood education” has driven the national conversation for improving school test scores and school performance statistics. But putting students into school at younger and younger ages is not an answer. It sidesteps the issue of parents and caregivers who are not prepared for today’s childhood learning demands outside the classroom.

Today’s Birth2Work Radio discussion, with Providence, Rhode Island–based high school math teacher Sean Geoghegan, deals head on with key issues related to child and parent readiness for success in life, and inside the educational system.

Early childhood education doesn’t simply begin in a formal school setting at age 4 or 5, but at day one, with primary caregivers who engage with their babies to draw out their innate intelligence. This early engagement is really a rediscovery of what most parents did for thousands of years, before media and technology were regular substitutes for adults in a baby’s life. As we heard in last week’s conversation with pediatric physical therapist Judy Jennings, there’s an epidemic increase in delayed growth and motor skills development that can set infants back 4 months by the time they are 6 months old. Without immediate attention and correction of development delays, kids can enter school at age 4 or 5, significantly behind where they should be mentally and physically. They aren’t ready or capable to learn and yet we hold the teachers responsible for kids not doing well.

Are these physical development delays and slow learning issues related? By the time a child reaches high school, teachers in many places around the country will tell you that kids have a hard time acquiring and retaining new knowledge. We expect them to integrate new knowledge with material they have already been presented. But they aren’t making the gains. What’s additionally troubling is that the ability to synthesize new information and make educated, thoughtful innovations is fundamental to their success later in the workplace and in life.

Join us today, as we continue to help bring important understanding to the issue of parent engagement on the frontlines of communities across the country. As is surfaced in today’s program and in other programs of ours focused on education, student achievement and workforce readiness are certainly affected by the education system, but not exclusively. Parents and stakeholder leaders who are aligned around providing a safe community environment where children have playgrounds, parks, bike trails, healthy air and food, and a personal sense of belonging, matter as much as school.

Elane V. Scott