Most children are born with the potential to become top students and eventually successful adults; however, the parents and home environment determine the child’s opportunity to pursue this success. Too many parents are not doing their jobs. They believe that school is the beginning of the child’s education. In reality, kindergarten is six years too late.
According to scientific research, the critical learning period for children is between the ages of 8 and 18 months, and by the time they are 8 years old they are already set in molds that determine their academic futures. While preschool programs beginning as early as age 3 certainly help, the child’s critical learning period is still missed.
School can be equated to a jungle, where the law is “survival of the fittest.” When we send our children to kindergarten, they automatically fall into the top, middle, or bottom of the class. Those whose parents give them the best foundation for learning during their preschool years are the fittest. They begin school with a head start; they’re confident, have the beginning of a healthy self-esteem, have advanced vocabularies, speak in complete sentences, and learn their ABC’s and numbers with ease. Having done a good job preparing them for school, their parents help and support them by making certain they understand their assignments and do their homework. They provide them with an educationally rich home environment, read to them, and restrict their TV and games, and plan activities away from home that will contribute to their educational repertoire. These lucky children become the elite of their class. Year after year they receive the best grades and all the honors, and awards. From high school they go on to college, and from there, they work their way into top paying jobs and the upper echelons of society.
At the other end of the spectrum are the children who receive little preparation for school. Rather than bedtime stories, their days usually end in front of the television. When they enter school, they’re already at the bottom of the class; they’re shy and withdrawn, have poor language development and comprehension skills, must learn how to follow simple instructions, and have difficulty learning their ABCs and numbers. They can’t compete, because the top students are learning much more rapidly, becoming further ahead, while these poor kids struggle to learn what the others already know when they enter school. Many of them never catch up, because they don’t do their
For decades, American students have been underperforming compared to other nations. Billions of dollars continue to be thrown away on the same old remedies in hopes of increasing students’ test scores: better teachers, new books, updated curriculum, and expensive studies to determine how to help kids learn. None of these “fix-its” have worked. It’s time we put our efforts in the right place…the parents and the home environment, where the results of dozens of studies by educational scientists indicate. There will be some parents who can’t do better for a number of reasons beyond their control, but there would be plenty who would be grateful to learn ways they can help their children get a better start in life.
Now we know that more money is not the answer and neither are better qualified teachers and schools, what is left for us to do? Let’s go back to the original report made back in 1983, “A Nation at Risk,” in which the parents were defined as the first and most influential teachers and must be actively involved in their child’s education.” Why haven’t we encouraged more parents’ involvement? I don’t know…who does? The adage, “Keep trying and you will succeed!” hasn’t worked and won’t, because we keep trying the same things over and over, resulting in continuous failure.
It’s time we face facts. Why do there continue to be such defined classes: upper, middle, and lower in America? What factors determine who belongs where? Why is it that most of the failing school children come from poorer families? And why has this cycle of failure continued year after year in the same poor families, generation after generation, never getting better, regardless of how much money we put into the schools and qualified teachers? Giving benefits to poor families keeps them alive, but doesn’t get them out of poverty.
All they know is to raise their children the same way they were raised by their parents, which generates a cycle of failure in each following generation, just as knowledgeable parents raise their children the same way they were raised, which perpetuates a generational cycle of success. And so it goes: the poor continue to beget poor, while the educated middle and upper classes continue their cycles of success.
Parents can prepare their infant to preschool child for school success, and then how to support them when they enter school. Top Students Top Parents is for the parents who are able and willing to go the extra mile in order to help their children become all they can be.