Why We Must Re-Focus on Academic Before its Too Late
If any of you are homeowners, you realize how important it is to have a strong foundation for your home. Before buying a house a home inspector will make sure that your foundation is solid, with no cracks or weaknesses. With a strong foundation your home can withstand attacks from outside sources, like storms and insects or animals. This keeps you and your family safe inside of your home. I believe that, just like a home foundation, our children need a strong academic foundation for them to withstand any struggles they will face after their years in elementary and high school.
This foundation building begins way before their formal education begins. One example of this is when looking at math performance. Research shows that “children’s knowledge of math concepts when they enter school is a strong predictor of later achievement, even stronger than early reading ability.” This highlights how the skills children develop during the preschool years are even important for future academic success. (https://www.srcd.org/research/improving-early-mathematics-education-may-enhance-childrens-academic-success). With each passing school year children gain new knowledge and skills that provide the building blocks for the next academic year.
What are these building blocks composed of? These blocks are based on knowledge in specific subject areas (e.g. Mathematics, English, etc.), but they also encompass skills that carry over to all areas of school and life. Academic achievement does not just equate to getting good grades. To be confident and successful in their academic life, children also need to develop critical thinking skills, academic buoyancy (ability to successfully deal with academic setbacks and challenges), student engagement, among other skills.
Of course many of these skills are developed not only in the school environment, but also in the home and other social environments that students experience. However, regarding the academic setting, we need to trust that our teachers are well qualified to support our children in developing these skills, which will help build this foundation. Our teachers have all been educated to understand how children learn, and how to best teach our children. As parents, we can help to facilitate this by keeping an open line of communication with them. We can find out how our children are doing, where they are struggling, and how we can help support both our children and their teachers. We need to remember that many factors go into building this strong foundation for our children, and we can take an active role in this process.
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