First Light Early Education Program

A Community of Healthy Families

What Families Can Do To Help Their Children Succeed Academically

Research shows that students who believe in and have the following characteristics do better at school. Helping your children succeed academically can be as simple as teaching your children these 4 important attributes or qualities. If children can answer “yes” to each set of statements under the attibutes then their chance of success is greater.

1. Teach them to believe they can succeed academically

 I can do even the hardest homework if I try

I can learn the things taught in school                                                                          Families-Teachers-210x312[1]

I can figure out difficult schoolwork

2. Inspire internal motivation to learn

I want to understand how to solve problems

I like to look for more information about school subjects

I want to learn new things

3. Teach them to manage their own learning

I ask myself questions as I go along to make sure my homework makes sense to me

I try to figure out the hard parts of my schoolwork on my own

I go back over things I don’t understand

I try to find a place that makes it easier to do my homework

4. Train them to know how to ask for help- especially from teachers

I can get along with most of my teachers

I can go and talk with most of my teachers

I can get my teachers to help me if I have problems with other students

I can explain what I think to most of my teachers

I ask the teacher to tell me how well I’m doing in class

Hoover-Dempsey, K., Sandler Howard., et al. Model of Parent Involvement, student survey data from Nebraska PIRC and Iowa PIRC (I-SPIN).  

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In Praise of Praising Less

Have you ever wondered why First Light uses encouragement instead of praise?

If you’re like me, you’ve probably used statements like “Good job,” “Way to go,” and “Nice work,” for years. Before I started at First Light, I praised liberally because I believed it was an effective way to help children feel good about themselves and their work. I thought I was helping build self-esteem and positive image.

However, research and experience show encouragement instead of praise will help to bolster children’s self-esteem and self-image.

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Many well-intentioned teachers and parents have used praise to improve children’s self-esteem and self-image, but the outcome can be just the opposite.  Alfie Kohn (1999), noted author of Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes, explains the potential damage to children when adults use praise. Children learn to depend on adults for figuring out what is right or wrong, instead of developing this ability themselves.

Rather than rely on their intrinsic motivation to learn, learning or “performing” is done in order to please others. Children lost the interest and ability to work and learn on their own.

By contrast, children who can evaluate their own performance with encouraging feedback from interested adults remain involved. Moreover, they are self-correcting, that is, they can ask questions of themselves and work to solve problems on their own. Learning is inherently satisfying.

Furthermore, “praise” implies judgment. Children know that if you can judge them favorably, you can also judge them unfavorably. Exploring or trying something new might result in “failure” from the adult’s perspective, so children stick with what is safe and has earned them praise before.

How do we move from praise to encouragement?

Our next post will talk about some specific strategies for incorporating more encouragement and less praise.

Leave a comment »

In Praise of Praising Less

Have you ever wondered why First Light uses encouragement instead of praise?

If you’re like me, you’ve probably used statements like “Good job,” “Way to go,” and “Nice work,” for years. Before I started at First Light, I praised liberally because I believed it was an effective way to help children feel good about themselves and their work. I thought I was helping build self-esteem and positive image.

However, research and experience show encouragement instead of praise will help to bolster children’s self-esteem and self-image.

asdfasdfas

Many well-intentioned teachers and parents have used praise to improve children’s self-esteem and self-image, but the outcome can be just the opposite.  Alfie Kohn (1999), noted author of Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes, explains the potential damage to children when adults use praise. Children learn to depend on adults for figuring out what is right or wrong, instead of developing this ability themselves.

Rather than rely on their intrinsic motivation to learn, learning or “performing” is done in order to please others. Children lost the interest and ability to work and learn on their own.

By contrast, children who can evaluate their own performance with encouraging feedback from interested adults remain involved. Moreover, they are self-correcting, that is, they can ask questions of themselves and work to solve problems on their own. Learning is inherently satisfying.

Furthermore, “praise” implies judgment. Children know that if you can judge them favorably, you can also judge them unfavorably. Exploring or trying something new might result in “failure” from the adult’s perspective, so children stick with what is safe and has earned them praise before.

How do we move from praise to encouragement?

Our next post will talk about some specific strategies for incorporating more encouragement and less praise.

Leave a comment »

Dads Matter

More fathers than ever are experiencing the satisfaction of taking an active role in their children’s lives. Fatherhood is for life, so practice being a “dad” every single day! Here are 3 practical ways you can make a difference in your child’s life now and for a lifetime.

1. Respect your Children’s Mother

One of the best things a father can do for his children is to respect their mother. If you are married, keep your marriage strong. If you are not married, it is still important to respect and support the mother of your children. A father and mother who respect each other provide a secure environment for their children. When children see their parents respecting each other, they are more likely to feel that they are also accepted and respected.

2. Be a Teacher

Too many fathers think teaching is something others do. But a father who teaches his children about right and wrong, and encourages them to do their best, will see his children make good choices. Involved fathers use every day examples to help their children learn basic lessons of life.

3. Read to your Children

Dads have to make a special effort to read to their children in a world where television and video games dominate. Promote reading by reading to your children when they are young. Encourage them to read on their own as they grow. Instill a love of reading in your children and you will help them have a lifetime of personal and career growth.

For more ways to be a committed father ever day, please see Dad’s Pocket Guide: Tips and Tools for Dads of Pre-School and School-Age Children booklet in our Family Resource Library!

We are thankful for First Light fathers who take an active role in their children’s lives. Your involvement in your child’s education will help them do well in school now and in the future.

Who are you grateful for as Father’s Day approaches on Sunday? Tell them.

 

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Welcome!

Hello First Light Families!

This blog has been created for you to stay informed about what your child is learning at First Light and offer specific ideas on how to use those strategies and skills at home. Families are a child’s first and most influential teacher. By working together, we can help our young children develop virtue, values, and character to inspire success in life!

Look for posts about:

– Strategies and tips on parenting (for example: how to have a productive parent/teacher conference, tempering temper tantrums, nurturing a toddler’s gifts, or toilet training)

– Early education issues specific to Wyoming that relate to standards, accountability, assessments, and federal legislation.

– HighScope Infant-Toddler and Preschool Curriculum

– First Light events and volunteer opportunities

– Community family events

All families have dreams for their children and the capacity to support their children’s learning. Through partnership, we can help our children grow physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and socially, ultimately increasing their success in school and life.

What dreams do you have for your child?

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The official blog of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University

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First Light Early Education Program

A Community of Healthy Families