United Way of Greater Greensboro funds programs and initiatives addressing the critical needs in our community in the areas of Education, Income/Self-Sufficiency, and Health. We recognize that children are the future and deserve opportunities to grow and become successful. Here are some insights from Jacob Rosenberg, student at The Early College at Guilford, Intern at United Way of Greater Greensboro.
Famous author G.K. Chesterton once said, “There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read.” A study by Purdue assistant professor of development studies, Jennifer Dobbs-Oates, is putting new validity behind this statement.
Her study’s focus was on, “low-income preschoolers ages 3-5,” and asked parents questions about the level of interest their children had in reading. The study found that students who showed an early interest in reading, “[were] more likely to show positive, adaptive behavior [rather] than negative, disruptive kinds of behavior.” However, it is just not reading for the sake of reading that helps. “It’s like a three-legged stool – learning and behavior aren’t enough, you also need to incorporate a child’s interests and motivation,” said Dobbs-Oates.
Think about this in context. Here is Sam, a student in the 2nd grade class who is reading well above grade level. Next to him is Rachel, who is struggling to read at a first grade level. Is Sam smarter than Rachel? Or, was Rachel deprived of the tools to help her learn at an early age? By giving children books when they are young, we empower them to become better students and better people. Talk to your kids, learn what interests they have and make learning personal. As parents and responsible members of the community, we must show children that learning is something they can grow to love.
Oftentimes we think that to change a child’s behavior it is merely a function of he or she changing. In reality, the parents and families must collectively adjust their actions and mindset so that children can understand the importance of learning.
This kind of family wide change also addresses the problem of obesity. Dr. Dennis Clements of Duke often tells families, “Obesity is a family event, not an individual event.” He offers advice for how to make the changes necessary to truly change the way we live. Our problems are not things that can be done away with ease, no matter how fool-proof the product seemed at 2 a.m. on that infomercial.
If we want to give our children the best future possible, it means change by all of us. United Way is committed to making changes for the better. The Thriving at 3 initiative operates under the premise that children who are physically and emotionally healthy by age three are more likely to be successful in school and in life—and a focus on early literacy is a key component.
Change is scary, and it is hard. However, when we realize the impact that we have on someone else’s life, it makes change a lot easier. Any child, including myself, can tell you that a parent’s help learning makes everything easier. From a teacher’s lesson plan to the everyday complications of growing up, communication in some form with a mentor is unimaginably helpful. Someday we can all hope to be lucky enough to help someone as much as our mentors have helped us. Let’s make someday as soon as possible.
What do you think should be done to help early child development?
What do you see as a key to the future of our children’s education?
Comment below and start the discussion…….