We Should Give Free Learning Materials and Professional Development to the Parents of Preschool Age Students

Parents are their child’s first teacher, and teachers are only as good as the learning materials that they have access to, and the training and support they receive. In many parts of the world, parents don’t have the funds to purchase learning materials. What if school districts provided learning materials and children’s books to the parents of children under the age of five? Some of the materials can be loaned out, but some materials such as workbooks might require the student to have their own copy, which they will be allowed to keep.

This would ensure that students receive a foundational education before they enter kindergarten. Well, provided that the school district provides parents with a professional development series that gives them tips on how to use the materials. Nothing too fancy, just 5 to 10 professional development sessions, sprinkled throughout the year and taught by expert teachers or professors.

This may seem like a huge burden to place on a U.S. education system that in some states, is not fully funded. But I promise it will save taxpayers millions of dollars. How? Remember, there are a lot of children that don’t attend a structured preschool program, and so their parents or family members are responsible for their educations. In some instances, these students enter kindergarten as blank slates, without an understanding of what a number or letter is, or the ability to follow directions.

So, helping parents and caregivers provide foundational skills to their children would save the U.S. education system billions of dollars. Why? Because students who lack school readiness usually end up repeating kindergarten, which means the school district must pay for an additional year of kindergarten and the cost of performing expensive interventions. School districts can prevent this, by providing parents with some learning materials and professional development sessions. Talk about a sound investment.

Do you think this is a good idea? Why or why not?

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