We came across a great opinion piece in The Christian Science Monitor, Want better students? Teach their parents. Author Jerome Kagan, a professor at Harvard, discusses the importance of parents in the preparation of children for school. The article highlights problems faced by children raised in families with limited education. Kagan points to a Tufts program of early intervention using ten, two hour home visits to work with the parents of economically disadvantaged two-year-olds. Low-cost limited interventions with parents seems to have an effect. We encourage you to take a look at the article.
Fortunately this past November, Arizona voters rescued our First Things First Program, which targets funds to early childhood development. Sadly, parents who need services to improve their educational potential were not so lucky; all state funding for GED was eliminated in the last legislative session. This seems counterproductive if you are trying to encourage families with limited education to prepare their children for school.
To learn more about preparing adults to help their children go to these web sites: Tucson Area Literacy Coalition, TucsonLiteracy.org and Pima Community College Adult Education. You may also want to check out a program that has had success in Arizona and other states, Parents as Teachers. You can find out if they are in a location near you by putting in your zip code here.