Parents Want Early Education That Teaches the Whole Child

Trust for Learning commissioned research — including 12 focus groups and a national survey of nearly 1,500 parents–to better understand parents’ needs and motivations when it comes to early education for their children.

Stephanie Miller writes in Education Week about the study’s findings:

What we found was that across background, income, and race, parents share some common attitudes, beliefs, and aspirations. Most notably, parents said social-emotional development is their highest priority when considering a program–this development is seen as providing the foundation for enduring success in school and adulthood. Parents are largely united in describing their ideal early learning program for their children: highly developmental education that places an emphasis on the child as an individual and supports them in becoming a capable, lifelong learner and doer.

The main lesson we learned through this extensive research is that parents want their children in learning environments that address the whole child in order to set them on the best path toward achievement in school and life.

She concludes that educators, policymakers, and the broader public can be more effective in serving families and children when the motivations of parents are better understood and respected.

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