Only 14% of a child’s time awake is spent at school. (Colgan, 2018)
Parents and caregivers need to be engaged in children’s learning in math outside of the classroom to ensure good outcomes.
Through my pre-certification hours, I often hear from teachers that parent engagement is down compared to prior years. Where scores are down, I believe that we look to the academic reasons why, but never consider engaging the caregivers to help improve elementary scores from the home front.
I believe in removing barriers between caregiver and child math interactions. I look for ways to mentor caregivers in the curriculum and in healthy approaches to scaffolding when their child is struggling, and how this is different from “helicopter parenting.”
There are many things teachers can do to engage caregivers. Create a Math Game event to mentor parents and caregivers how to play with math. Write a blog on what is being covered during the week and why it really matters and the simple things that caregivers can do to help. Challenge caregivers to demonstrate a pure joy of math in the home by playing math games and reading nighttime puzzles. Have families hold mini-contests on the many short car rides each day holds.
Caregivers will be glad to engage in math with their child provided there is a clear understanding of what to do and how it is connected to their child’s outcome in math –in the process, the caregiver will build a deeper appreciation and sense of math.