The role of education is considered vital for everyone in today’s advancing world. Without having quality education and appropriate learning, success and growth cannot be guaranteed. Schools and educational institutes are now being equipped with modern technological tools of teaching and learning, and now it is considered necessary for a child to be well aware of these from early childhood. As it is rightly said that home is the very first educational institute for a child, the importance of parent’s role in developing their child’s learning skills cannot be denied in any case. Parents, who integrate education from homes and get involved in their child’s education, play positive parts in making him/her successful. Their involvement in child’s primary learning skills process not only helps in their child’s academic life but is also considered of vital importance later, in the development of their personalities. Research indicates that even if parents dedicate only up to 15 minutes of their time to their child; having constructive conversation and enhances his/her speaking or reading abilities, the bond between parents and child gets stronger as well as the moral of the child is boasted. Such things at homes make children more confident and more anxious towards learning and polishing their skills (Vincent and Tomlinson 1997).
Primary Learning Skills (PLS) include all those that are required before the schooling of the child, i.e., pre-reading, pre-writing, and pre-mathematical skills. A very important phenomenon that is too counted in this regard is of socio-emotional and socio-economic domains. It is a very common observation that parents who have a sound economic status, appropriate education and enhanced social interactions want their child to be sharp and intellectual. Therefore, they start implementing strategies such as reading aloud of books and stories, taking child to amusement parks and to relatives homes, and also provide as much learning material to their child as possible, so that his/her PLS get enhanced and improved. Some of the strategies include that they want to incorporate into their child/children are playing with educational toys, engaging with books, retelling a story using pictures, identifying shapes, colors and things, recognizing the direction of writing etc. These things, though quite basic, form a strong basis of the child before pre-school and enable him/her to be a sharp one amongst other classmates. Also, a great trend by such parents is to admit their child/children into pre-schools, where they can learn basic skills in a formal environment. Thus together, formal and informal learning contribute in a child’s learning process and make him/her intellectual (Zaman 2006).
Unfortunately, we as a modern society are still being indulged in issues such as ethnicity, race and bloodlines. Therefore, racial groups that are in minority cannot enjoy the full of life and struggle for even basic necessities. Hispanics, for example, constitutes largest and fastest growing portion in US population; however, they are still combating with the issues like unemployment, low social status, low educational levels, poverty and gender bias etc. Due to these problems, parents of Hispanic children show a reluctant attitude in sending their children to pre-schools, as according to them, these have many cross cultural differences and do not meet with the requirements and needs of their children. Because of these perceptions, along with other socio-economic problems, a number of Hispanic children do not go to pre-schools; so the entire responsibility of developing their PLS falls upon their parents solely (Zaman 2006).
The constructive theory of learning and development by Vygotsky can be implemented on those parents who do not like to send their children into alien-cultured preschools and prefer to polish their learning skills at homes. Although Vygotsky does not exactly suggested that, according to him, the development of language combined with practical activities are highly beneficial for intellectual development of a child during a learning process. He emphasized on the fact that a child can use language in organizing information, which is in the form of words. In this way, he/she learns from the environment and constructs his/her own knowledge and intellect. Children of the age 2-7 are more likely to develop their own thinking and constructing knowledge. Therefore, if they are exposed to a proper social learning environment, it would be easier for them to construct their own knowledge with different ideas and try to make sense out of them (Brooks and Brooks 1999). Therefore, such parents who do not enroll their children in pre-schools, can develop their PLS by engaging them in social activities. These include visits to family and friends, recreational places and community centers and religious places, so that the child gets familiar with his/her roots and at the same time, acquire the right competence according to the age group. Children can acquire various skills from situated learning, i.e., a good mixture of structured and unstructured activities (both social and non-social) within the family and community activity settings (Lave and Wenger 1991).
There is another important aspect upon which parents must pay attention, i.e., what they actually want from their child and what skills they want to acquire him/her? They should not get confused in their own terms that either they want their child to love learning, or to acquire academic learning skills. In actual, the answer lies within the questions, i.e., first the child starts love learning, and then he/she will become able to get right academic skills. So parents must incorporate “love to learning” strategies at homes initially, after which the child can get the appropriate academic skills to learn. Children love animations, cartoons and colors, and parents can develop their learning abilities at homes by providing them with games and cartoons as per requirement of the age. By doing so, the language learning abilities of the child enhance and he/she becomes able to recognize words. Also, techniques like storytelling and book reading can play a great role. Initially, parents start story telling themselves, after which they can shift it upon the child so as his language skills of reading and speaking get improve. The last step can be book reading; through which the child get familiarize with different words and reading can be a fun as well as a good learning process for him/her (Zaman 2006).
Hence to conclude, parents must starting implementing better educational strategies and primary learning skills PLS from homes, particularly those who do not want to enroll their children into pre-schools. However, there is a need to change such approach as conventional teaching is highly essential in polishing a child’s ability to learn. For this purpose to be readily fulfilled, communities and local bodies must ensure that the child should not face any disgraced attitude or behavior from the majority community. Minorities, ethnic groups and people belonging to other races should be encouraged and supported to take part in social activities and to end up those difference which lead parents to keep their children out of pre-schools for a long time.
Brooks, Jacqueline G, and Martin G. Brooks. In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1999. Internet resource.
Lave, Jean, and Etienne Wenger. Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge [England: Cambridge University Press, 1991. Print.
Zaman, Ahmed. "Parental Roles in the Acquisition of Primary Level Skills: an Exploratory View on the Low-Income Hispanic-American Families with 3 and 4-Year Old Children." Education. 127.1 (2006): 73-82. Print.