Early Childhood Education: What Young Parents Need to Know

There are a lot of changes in early childhood education that parents really need to know. Parents really need to know what schools expect children to know when they start first grade. You would think everyone knows this but schools expect children to know much more than we knew when we started school. School curricula are always evolving to try to find new and better ways to teach children. So what’s being taught in schools now isn’t your fathers reading, writing, and arithmetic. Now there are a lot of changes in early childhood education that parents really need to know.

No Child Left Behind

In response to the large number of high school dropouts and low test grades, President George Bush began the “No Child Left Behind” education program. This program set federal guidelines for school curricula. It set learning benchmarks that students needed to reach by specific grade levels. It also tied federal funding for schools to student achievement. Federal funding based on performance gave local schools incentive to come up with ways to help children achieve the goals of the “No Child Left Behind Act.” Schools couldn’t afford to lose federal money because money means jobs and resources.

Common Core

Common Core is an education program of President Barak Obama’s administration designed to help children achieve federal academic benchmarks. Parents need to know a few things about how these programs impact their children. For example, teachers have to teach based on Common Core guidelines that may or may not meet their child’s needs. In addition, children are expected to enter elementary school on or close to grade level in the basic areas of study like reading and math. Teachers don’t have time to teach children how to read and how to do math because teachers have to get their students ready to pass federal education testing.

First Grade Homework

Yes, homework in First Grade. Sure, children are capable of learning and need to be challenged but is this setting the bar too high? At one point not long ago, academia was under fire for what became known as “Dumbing Down” by making lessons to easy for students. Now it seems like first grade homework and some other initiatives are swinging the pendulum to the other extreme. The homework isn’t coloring pictures either. There are reading, spelling, math, and social studies homework assignments. This is leaving parents and students in a school daze.

Third Grade Rite of Passage

Under this Curriculum, third grade is a defining moment for students. A student could be held back if they don’t pass benchmark test at the end of third grade. This is another reason young parents need to know what’s in store in early childhood education.

Noble Intentions

Schools have noble intentions and they expect much more of parents than they have in the past. Some elementary school work is so advanced that it may cause some parents feel like they need to take refresher courses in order to help. But children are encouraged to do work independently as much as possible. They are told to “Do the best you can.” Of course, you want children to work independently but you also want them to get the help they need without being dependent on help.

Photo Credits:
Alphabet Blocks by MRCPLChildrens is under Creative Commons license on Flickr CC BY 4.0