Ask any homeowner about the importance of a foundation and you’re likely to hear about how much they cost to fix. I’ve talked to neighbors who’ve had work done, and have heard horror stories about them dropping $15,000-$20,000 to shore up their foundations and re-level their homes. Clearly, that big ol’ slab of concrete is a vital part of the house’s structure, one that can cause cracks to show in the home, derail potential sales, or even lead to complete teardowns.
If those literal foundations are so important, then it should come as no surprise that metaphorical foundations are too. Think about all the work that goes in creating the foundation for a house. Someone must first design the floor plan/foundation, the site is prepared and inspected, and then the foundation is poured, reinforced, inspected again, and sealed. All of this for a piece of the home that, with any luck, is never seen.
Just like our homes need a strong, secure foundation, so do our children. They need hands-on learning, play time, and opportunities to practice their social skills in order to become strong life-long learners. The concepts children learn early on serve them for the rest of their lives and set the tone for success in the classroom and beyond.
The Importance of Attendance
We take it as a given that if you’re reading this blog you’ve done the work necessary to nurture your children during their early childhood. You’ve read to them, sacrificed for them, taught them discipline, and helped them develop empathy and personal responsibility. You’ve done the research and chosen the right school to meet their needs, so now you’ve got to make sure they actually go.
Missing school of course means missing instruction, and studies have shown that missing school can cause students as young as kindergarten to lag behind the class in subjects like reading. If you want your children to stay on grade level, then make sure they’re in their desks every day.
Missing school also means missing out on formative peer-to-peer interactions. Elementary school is just as crucial in developing social skills as it is in developing academic standards, so keeping your children healthy and in the classroom is doubly important.
Staying on Track
Passing classes and moving up on schedule is of course important, but staying on level is the true measure of progress and 3rd grade is the critical point for both math and reading skills. Studies have shown that children reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade are four times more likely to graduate from high school on time. If reading skills fall behind at this point, it becomes harder for students to stay on-level in other subjects. If children have trouble reading, for example, they can’t handle the more complex word problems their math class is throwing at them. Children who lack a strong educational foundation are set up to struggle throughout their academic careers.
A strong foundation starts with academics, but character development, life skills, and leadership training create students who will be more productive and, down the line, more attractive to prospective colleges and future employers. We as parents can help young students foster these skills by helping them establish good habits and strong mindsets. We can help set the tone for the rest of their lives by having them participate in household chores, complete and submit homework in a timely fashion, and volunteer for extracurricular activities to expose them to a variety of teams or clubs. This mindset of going the extra mile will carry over into their teenage years when grades start to make a difference in their futures.
Parents as Builders
When we allow our children the time and space to build strong foundations, the skills they learn take root more easily and become assets they can count on the rest of their lives. It’s up to parents to choose the right school to help with this all-important process and private schools are increasingly becoming the institutions of choice for parents looking for strong partners. Together, parents and schools can set down a strong foundation, one that we can build upon during our children’s formative years.