Thursday, August 6, 2015

So…parents can expect more improvement in literacy and numeracy?

“Australia's curriculum authority has said parents have the right to expect more improvement than what is being shown in the nation's annual numeracy and literacy skills report.

NAPLAN test results that were released this morning (August 05 2015) showed that in the seven years since the tests were introduced in primary and high schools, most measurements show no major improvement.”

I’m not a big fan of testing kids’ literacy and numeracy nor am I a fan of putting the whole responsibility for these aspects of learning in the schools’ courts, instead here’s another idea.

If parents can indeed expect more improvement in literacy and numeracy, they might consider the very significant steps that they can take.

Let's start with the time before conception … most effective place to ensure optimal mental health in the offspring. Sure, this needs some foresight, planning and commitment on the part of two prospective parents, but the payoff is huge! Most important outcome as far as this subject goes is a truly healthy, bright child. 

Then, once the optimal physical and mental health of the child is assured, parents can get rid of some popular parenting practices (e.g. controlled crying, separate sleeping quarters and formula feeding) and embrace responsive, attached, nurturing practices that also nurture optimal mental development. 

The research is clear on both counts! For almost forty years, Foresight Association UK, renowned epidemiologist Professor David Barker from Southhampton University and many others have proposed that two optimally healthy prospective parents will give their child the best chance of a lifetime of optimal physical and mental health. Furthermore, the findings of interdisciplinary studies at University of Notre Dame are clear. “Breast-feeding infants, responsiveness to crying, almost constant touch and having multiple adult caregivers are some of the nurturing ancestral parenting practices that are shown to positively impact the developing brain, which not only shapes personality, but also helps physical health and moral development.”

Yep, there’s no doubt. If all parents were to fully embrace these opportunities for more enlightened parenting practices, they’d be rewarded with a great deal more than kids who do better on their NAPLAN tests.

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