OPINION: Parental involvement helps children prosper in school


By Jennifer Quinonez, for Los Angeles Universal Preschool

image“The first day can be scary, even parents are crying,” says veteran preschool teacher Joy Cyprian about the transition from toddler to preschooler. “But in a few days, the kids are running to the front door, excited to be back at school.”

Getting a child energized about learning something new is actually very easy, as kids love show off their accomplished task.

“I’m making a castle out of rectangles and squares!” shouts four-year-old Andrea, a preschooler in South Los Angeles.

From figuring out how to zip up a jacket, to spelling out their name with a big bright crayon for the very first time, learning is fun for active young minds. That’s why parents need to be engaged in their child’s learning because by doing so, it will greatly help their child’s overall happiness.

Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) works to help parents learn new ways to become involved in their child’s life and education, because it’s a crucial component to the health and well-being of a child.

“Parent engagement is a critical, “says Elsa Leal, LAUP’s Parent Engagement Resource Team Supervisor. “We encourage an array of opportunities for parents to be involved in their children’s education that focus on communication, volunteering, parent education, parent advocacy and community resources.”

Studies show that regardless of the family’s economic, racial or cultural background, as long as a parent is involved in their child’s education, the results are impressive. They include better school attendance, reduced drop-out rates and overall better student achievement.

“I see how getting involved helps my daughter with her social and motor skills,” says mother of two Kay Mangum. “If kids aren’t ready, they’ll fall behind and we should all do what we can to support them.

  • One way to strengthen the bonds at home is by eating together as a family. Studies show that children whose families eat together at least four times a week scored higher on academic tests than those whose families eat together less often.
  • Another idea is to read to your child regularly, even if it’s for only five to 10 minutes a day, with a goal of 20 minutes a day per child. This will help strengthen your child’s reading, writing and speaking skills.
  • Educators also say it’s important to limit the amount of time your children watch TV and play computer and video games. It’s best to also choose quality programs and watch TV together as a family, asking your child questions about the show as well.
  • Parent involvement also includes having a lot of daily interactions and conversations with your child. Talking with them and asking them open-ended questions such as “What do you think happened?” or “Why” gets kids to enhance their critical thinking skills and improve their vocabulary.
  • Just as starting a conversation with your son or daughter is important, so is listening to their answers. By doing this, you’re showing that their ideas and thoughts matter which helps improve their self esteem.

If parents show they care, it’s the best way to ensure your child’s successful educational path as well as sending an important message him or her that education is important.

For more information about enrolling your child in a high-quality preschool program in Los Angeles County, please visit www.laup.net or call 1.866.675.5400.