The Importance of Parent Involvement in Early Childhood Education

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Some of a child’s most important development happens during their preschool years. By taking an active role in the early childhood education (ECE) process, parents can help ensure that their child has all the support they need to develop to their full potential – emotionally and academically.

That is why programs like Pre-K Counts, Head Start and Early Head Start highly encourage parent and family participation, with the belief that a parent’s involvement is essential not only to the success of the child, but also to the program.

As stated in the article, Parent Involvement in Head Start and Children’s Development: Indirect Effects of Parenting, “Although it is possible that parent involvement in Head Start could have direct benefits for children, it is more likely that it will have indirect effects through improvements in parenting behavior, and it was these indirect pathways that the founders of Head Start had in mind when they decided to promote parent involvement”. As parents immerse themselves in the program, program staff then have a chance to enhance parents’ knowledge and skills which could lead to positive gains in children’s development, as well as their own personal development.

There are many ways parents and families can become involved in an ECE program and strive to be an even greater role model for their children. Family members can:

  • attend center meetings,
  • get involved in developing an Individualized Education Plan for their child with special needs,
  • serve on committees and special advisory councils,
  • assist in efforts like recruitment or sharing their personal story with school and elected officials or potential funders.

In addition to the activities that enhance a parent’s leadership skills, ECE programs like Head Start/Early Head Start also offer opportunities to expand a caregiver’s education, provide assistance to obtain employment or find a better job, and present a chance for parents to participate in parenting programs like The Incredible Years.

Private Industry Council’s Head Start and Early Head Start family services staff have been trained to facilitate The Incredible Years Attentive Parenting and Preschool Basics program. These “universal” programs are offered to all parents to promote their child’s emotional regulation, social competence, problem solving, reading and school readiness.

The Head Start/Early Head Start of Beaver County program will be launching The Incredible Years Attentive Parenting Series virtually every Tuesday starting October 27, 2020. Designed for parents with children between the ages of 2 – 6, this 7-week workshop series will help parents recognize the proper practices and behaviors that foster a culture of excellence in the home. Materials will be provided and there will be weekly incentives for the families. Parents interested in enrolling in the program can contact Lily Formosa, Family Service Worker, at (724) 961-6743 or lformosa@privateindustrycouncil.com.