Social

Character education parents as partners

The school is influential but parents are even more so. Indeed, when considering any, and all, of social, moral, behavioral and academic development, the researchers determine that parental influence is profound. Indeed, it exceeds the weight of the school’s influence. As a testament to the incontrovertibility of this particular fact, it is readily admitted by schools, in addition to which, federal, state and local documents routinely begin by acknowledging that parents have the greatest influence on children’s character development.
Following the identification of the seminal role which parents play in character development within the context of early childhood education, the researchers embark upon a more detailed analysis of the complexities of character education. In brief, and as may be deduced from Berkowitz and Bier’s (2005) discursive analysis, character education my be defined as a comprehensive school-based approach to the fostering of students’ moral development. It is interesting to note here that even as they outline the centrality of parents to character development and quite effectively maintain that their influence far outweighs that of the school, the researchers define character development as a school-based approach. Rather than imply that the researchers are contradicting themselves, this is indicative of the complexity of the concept of character.
Teachers recognize the complexity of character development in early childhood education and, accordingly, tend to welcome parental involvement. Certainly, the researchers do not claim that all educators immediately recognize the advantages, even imperatives, of parental involvement. They do argue, however, that it is quite possible to persuade educators of the complexity of character development, hence the importance of parental involvement, through simple exercises. One would be to ask educators to name their moral hero and then write down a list of his/her characteristics. The length and diversity of the lists subsequently generated evidence the complexity of character. Alternatively, educators could be asked to draw a composite picture of their favorite student. The richness and complexity of the resultant picture, once again, evidences the complexity of the concept of character. In other words, establishing the imperatives of parental involvement as a result of the complexity of character, is not a difficult task.
Following the above stated, the researchers embark upon a more detailed analysis of the imperatives of parental involvement in early childhood education. Berkowitz and Bier (2005) are hardly alone in their insistence of the benefits of parental involvement as Henderson and Berla (1994) make the same point. Henderson and Berla (1994) identify parental involvement as the single most important predicator of student success in school. A host of researchers concur and list the benefits of parental involvement as all of improved academic performance, reduced absenteeism rates, greater academic motivation, improved behavior and lower dropout rates (Colker, n.d.. Henderson &amp. Mapp, 2002. Jordan, Orozco, &amp. Averett, 2001).
Parents influence their child(ren)’s school outcomes through direct school involvement and, indeed, through a myriad of other ways and means which

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