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Get the Most Out of Early Childhood Education - Best Practices for Parents

While your child gets to spend a few hours a day with us at Discovery Tree Academy, the majority of their time is still spent with you, their parent. What are some best practices for being an active participant in their early childhood education, both inside and outside of the classroom? These are some simple ways that you, as a parent, can help get the most out of your child’s early education experience and help develop them into the wonderful people they’re growing up to be.

Creative kids painting together.

Building and Promoting Independence

While your child is still young, it’s easy to want to provide as much help to them as possible. You’re their provider, after all! It’s totally natural. However, most early childhood educators will tell you that your young child is very capable of doing more on their own than you may have expected. Here are some simple and effective ways to encourage independence:

  • Set Clear Expectations - In most cases, both children and adults have a tendency to live up (or sometimes down) to expectations. When clear expectations are presented, most children will follow through. This includes simple instructions like “hang your jackets up here, carefully pour your own water, throw away your trash, etc.”

  • Resist the Urge to Do Tasks For Your Child - While accomplishing simple tasks for your child may be faster and easier, it doesn’t promote self-sufficiency. Experience is the best teacher!

  • Don’t Redo Your Child’s Work - Unless absolutely necessary, don’t redo your child’s little accomplishments. This might mean the occasional “eclectic” outfit choice or “made” bed. Of course, you can offer guidance, but don’t negate your child’s small successes.

Two boy kids lay down on floor and reading a book in preschool library

Encourage Cooperation With Peers

Have you ever seen a classroom full of children politely sitting in a circle, raising their hands when they have a question, and operating in an orderly fashion and wondered “how in the world does this teacher do that?” Much of this is chalked up to a teacher’s experience with young children, but there are some ways you can encourage this behavior:

  • Active Praise of Good Behavior - When you see your child performing good behaviors, be proactive in providing praise. Kids tend to repeat behaviors that receive attention.

  • Make Responsibilities Into a Game - Two of your most powerful tools as a parent are a sense of humor and the ability to create tasks into games. A little levity and good-natured fun go a long way.

  • Avoid “If” Statements - When a reward is contingent on an “if” statement, it provides your child the choice to not comply. Instead, use “when” statements. For example, “When you finish putting your clothes in the hamper, we’ll go to the playground.”

group of happy kids on children playground climbing frame

Develop Daily Routines

According to most educators, the majority of children cooperate in school settings because they have clear knowledge of what is expected of them. These expectations are most clearly made when you develop a strong daily routine. Most classrooms follow a similar daily routine, giving students the opportunity to quickly learn what is expected of them. While activities at home usually vary more than what occurs in the classroom, the key is to be as consistent as possible. When your child is thrown curveballs everyday, expectations remain unclear and cooperation may suffer.

Early Childhood Education in Utah

While entire volumes of books have been filled with tips and tricks for parents of young children in early education, we hope that this brief crash course has been beneficial to you. To learn more about how we help children grow, contact Discovery Tree Academy in Springville and Payson!