Parent’s involvement in a child’s early years is crucial according to a University of Canterbury professor.
Professor Garry Hornby from the University’s College of Education said the difference between children whose parents were involved with their education and those that were not was contributing to the under-achievement of some children at school.
Professor Hornby has written a book on parental involvement in learning and will speak at the International Congress of Early Childhood Education in Turkey next month.
In his book, he writes that children whose parents read to them during their pre-school years are likely to achieve more than those whose parents were not as involved.
"We know that 15-year-old students whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher levels of academic achievement than students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all," he said.
This meant that parental involvement in the early years and beyond was crucial to school success.
Over the last four years, Professor Hornby has conducted a number of research studies into parental involvement at early childhood level and during the school years, throughout the Canterbury region. Parental involvement was at its highest during the early childhood period and then tailed off during primary and intermediate schools before reaching its lowest point during the high school years.
Professor Hornby said it was a concern that many parents were not involved with their child’s schooling. Early childhood services and schools needed to be aware of the importance of parental involvement and encourage it.
"Most parents want the best education for their children. It is just that for various reasons they either do not realise the importance of their involvement or do not feel comfortable or welcomed by schools to work in partnership with teachers for the benefit of their children," he said.
The findings of Professor Hornby’s research have been published in his new book, 'Parental Involvement in Childhood Education'.