Forum: Parents play key role in children's learning journey

A father talking to his child as his wife looks at Paya Lebar Central on Sept 15, 2020.
A father talking to his child as his wife looks at Paya Lebar Central on Sept 15, 2020.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

I refer to the article, "Learning activities at home help shape kids' skills: Study" (Dec 21, 2020).

Research on early childhood education has shown that complementing formal teaching with home support gives children a more positive learning experience, greater learning success and increased confidence.

It takes a village to support a child - this adage is especially true for children with learning difficulties as they need different areas of specialised support. The Dyslexia Association of Singapore helps students with dyslexia or other specific learning differences.

We have observed that students who receive parental support at home tend to achieve greater progress in academic and socio-emotional aspects.

The significance of parental support in learning was made obvious during Singapore's circuit breaker period last year, when children had to embark on full home-based learning.

Besides incorporating various online learning resources to keep our students engaged, we also planned home-based activities and provided interactive e-books.

Home-based learning offered insights into the value of home support in a child's learning journey.

Parents contributed greatly to the success of our home-based lessons, letting us deliver classes to pre-school children, whose attention spans are still developing. They also supported offline home activities by reading with their children. Such strong educator-parent coordination led to our students' accelerated progress.

We found that these parents' education or income levels are secondary, which corresponds to research by the National Institute of Education that it is what parents do with their children at home that matters.

The mother of one of my students, a coffee shop stall assistant, is a strong case in point.

When we first met, she handed me a file containing all the home-based activities she had attempted with her child, all of which were completed perfectly. Thanks to her commitment, her child made notable progress.

As we enter newer phases of the pandemic, education will continue to morph with greater opportunities for home-based learning. But whatever the mode, parents who are fully invested in their children's learning journey will give them the best opportunity for success.

Suthasha Kelly Bijay

Lead Educational Therapist,

Programme Manager

Dyslexia Association of Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2021, with the headline 'Parents play key role in children's learning journey'. Print Edition | Subscribe