Another school year is about to begin, and Commissioner Sherri Killins of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care offered a back-to-school message on NECN (New England Cable News) for families seeking ways to help their children succeed in school.
“We really want Mom and Dad to know that children are learning all the time, and everything they’ve done all summer really extends the learning they have during the year. Museums. Libraries. As we get closer to school we need to be more organized. We need to have a schedule. We need to be extending conversations, talking about what children want to learn about and what they don’t want to learn about. How to build relationships with their teachers because one of the critical parts is having a relationship between the student and the teacher, between the parent and the teacher and the student and the parent,” Killins told The Morning Show co-host Steve Aveson.
“Mom and Dad should really be trying to extend the conversation,” she added. “Watch news with their children. It’s a great political season. They just had a piece about that. Having children talk about how they understand that. Going to the grocery store. Using the math skills that they’re learning…. If we buy two boxes of cereal and you buy one and get 50% off how much would the other box cost? There are lots of games you can play in the grocery store to make it fun and to make it applicable. That’s what’s going to help our children extend their learning.”
Commissioner Killins also encouraged parents to read aloud to their children and discuss the text or illustrations. She encouraged families and children to set goals – to read more, watch television less and use libraries, museums and other community resources.
Commissioner Killins shared several resources, including the Brain Building in Progress website, the state’s five Early Childhood Resource Centers located in public libraries, and tips and information on the Parent Engagement and Family Support section of EEC’s website.
“Parents, families and communities play a very important role in supporting children’s learning in the out-of- school hours, so that learning is continuous,” Killins said. “Children’s learning is fostered through engaging and enriching experiences that support children’s communication and critical thinking. When children can apply skills and concepts in real life it reinforces their understanding, helps to retain the information they learned, and makes learning come alive. It also therefore helps children become excited about school.”