Parents send their children to school with great hopes and expectations. They understand that education plays a vital role in shaping their children’s future and want schools to provide learning environments where students can thrive. But beyond the standard curriculum, what exactly do parents expect their children to gain from attending school each day? This article explores the key things parents hope their kids will learn through regular school attendance.
Develop Academic Skills and Knowledge
One of the most fundamental expectations parents have is that sending their kids to school will help them master academic skills and content knowledge across various subjects. This includes learning to read, write, compute mathematical problems, understand scientific concepts, appreciate literature and the arts, and grasp the basics of history, civics, geography, and more. Parents trust that teachers will effectively impart critical knowledge and skills that provide a foundation for future education and employment.
Literacy and Communication Abilities
In particular, parents expect schools to cultivate strong literacy and communication abilities in their children. This means helping students become competent readers, writers, speakers, listeners, and critical thinkers. These skills allow them to consume information, articulate ideas clearly, engage in meaningful dialogues, and analyze issues from multiple perspectives. Robust literacy and communication capacities prepare youth to succeed in higher academia, the modern workplace, and civic life.
Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking Skills
Along with factual knowledge, parents hope schools will teach students problem-solving and critical thinking skills through challenging assignments, group work, research projects, and more. Figuring out solutions to complex issues requires creativity, analysis, teamwork, and communication—abilities that schools are well-positioned to develop. Parents know that learning how to think, not just what to think, will benefit their children far beyond their academic career.
Knowledge Application Across Disciplines
Rather than just memorizing isolated facts, parents expect educators to show students how to apply knowledge across disciplines. This includes tackling real-world problems, making interdisciplinary connections, using information to support arguments, and more. These exercises prepare young people to synthesize and implement what they learn in academically rigorous and personally relevant ways.
Learn Valuable Social and Emotional Skills
In addition to sharpening their minds, parents hope the school environment helps shape their children into responsible, empathetic, and conscientious individuals. This means providing opportunities to build social and emotional intelligence through positive peer interactions and mentorship from caring adults.
Communicate and Cooperate with Others
Parents understand that few endeavors in life are solitary pursuits. To collaborate effectively at school, at work, and in their communities, young people need to know how to communicate and cooperate with others. K-12 schools offer built-in chances to exercise these “soft skills” through group assignments, clubs, sports teams, and more. As students learn to listen, articulate ideas, compromise, and resolve conflicts, they become more capable teammates and leaders.
Develop Confidence and Self-Discipline
Along with getting along with others, parents expect schools to help students develop confidence and self-discipline. This means offering activities that allow young people to discover their talents and passion areas while learning persistent focus. As kids gain positive reinforcement and learn from failures in a safe environment, they cultivate the courage and resilience needed to keep progressing towards their highest potential, even amid setbacks.
Think Critically About Health and Wellness
Parents also hope schools will provide age-appropriate instruction in health, wellness, and safety to help students make wise choices. This includes encouraging positive lifestyle habits, deconstructing media messages, identifying mental health resources, resisting unsafe peer pressure, and more. These lessons equip young people with the knowledge and analytical abilities to care for their minds and bodies both in and out of school.
Gain Life Skills and Real-World Exposure
While foundational knowledge and soft skills may attract the most attention, schools play another vital role: preparing students for life after graduation. Parents expect supplementary offerings that provide real-world exposure and life skills practice while making classroom learning more concrete.
Apply Learning Through Experiential Opportunities
According to parents, it’s not enough to just absorb academic concepts. Schools should provide experiential learning opportunities so students can apply knowledge in hands-on ways. This may include lab experiments, vocational coursework, community service projects, workplace visits, simulated environments, and more. Through these exposures, abstract lessons gain relevance while sparking career interests.
Build Familiarity with Technology and Media
Today’s digital landscape means young people need to know how to leverage technology and media for learning, communicating, working, and participating in civic life after graduation. Parents want schools to facilitate tech literacy and fluency early on by incorporating digital platforms and teaching media analysis. These skills allow students to make the most of information technology while identifying misinformation and guarding personal data.
Practice Independent Living Abilities
As young people mature, parents want assurances that schools are preparing their teens for the next phase of independence. Courses in personal finance, civic duties, household responsibilities, and college-prep offer students important independent living exposures. Educators can also build autonomy by allowing appropriate freedoms and choices around assignments, creative expression, and social interactions. These opportunities help equip youth with the abilities needed to successfully launch into adulthood.
While each family’s priorities differ, most parents share fundamental hopes regarding what their children will gain from attending school consistently. Of course, academic knowledge and skills that prepare youth for higher education and career success remain top educational expectations. However, parents also understand that well-rounded learning includes social-emotional growth, real-world exposures, and applied life skills practice. Ultimately, parents trust that teachers will nurture their children into responsible, discerning, independent adults equipped to follow their dreams, make wise choices, and positively impact the world around them.