Las Vegas Sun

November 22, 2014

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letter to the editor:

Families are a child’s first teacher

All the statistics indicate that we have an education crisis in this country. The research calls attention to the underachievement of children who come from homes with less income and without English as the primary language spoken in the home. There seems to be consistent agreement regarding these indicators.

However, strong families can prepare children for school by understanding what is needed to be successful in school and life. There are some things parents can control, regardless of family income or ethnic origin:

• How many words infants and toddlers hear specifically directed at them is a major component of speech and literacy development.

• The number of books caregivers read to infants and toddlers has proven consequences in their educational development.

• Making every effort to have English as the primary language of children within the family gives them a great advantage in the classroom.

• Parents can review the School District’s expectations for children starting in kindergarten and make sure their child has achieved those bench marks.

• Opportunities for developmental screenings allow children to receive services that decrease the chance of starting school with an undetected delay or disability.

• Giving your child opportunities to be with other children in supervised, structured group situations increases their ability to start school ready to learn.

Education is the best way to overcome poverty. People with fewer economic resources have many choices that can improve the early experiences of their children, resulting in improved educational experiences. If your children are not prepared to start school or preschool, they may never catch up. As we strive to improve public preschool opportunities and public school success, we need strong families who understand their role as their child’s first teacher and advocate. It is a joint effort, critical to the future of our country.

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