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Parent is the first teacher

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«Вестник Востока» newspaper, December 2015

Just as a builder begins with foundation, so the parent begins upbringing from the early childhood. And one of the key factors for child's confident beginning to form as a personality is parental care.

According to the UNESCO, 40% of cases when children under 5 die is related to unsatisfactory practice of care in the family and poor parents' awareness of proper development of a child.

In Kazakhstan infant mortality rate is equal to 9.3 cases of 1000 live-born children. To beamong 30 developed countries it is required to reduce this indicator to 4.1 cases per year (Hong Kong - 1.6, Norway and Japan - 2.2). Care and development of more than 1.1 mln. children at the age of 0-3 in Kazakhstan are provided in family. According to the results of social researches, more than a half of respondents in Kazakhstan specifies poor functional literacy and awareness of care and development of their children.

Certainly, unfamiliarity with basics of infant educational development methods and age peculiarities result in late identification of needs for children's disturbance of development, subsequent poor intellectual development and bad performance at school.

In preschool period care and education are virtually inseparable and play a crucial role in creation of a sound foundation for life-long study. Successful preparation of children for school closely correlates with conditions created by parents (number of purchased books, games of skills, frequency of reading books together with children, structure of joint leisure activities, etc.).

Children from families with firm culture of reading demonstrate good learning outcomes. It has been established that 57% parents of children who demonstrate high reading results spent their time reading books together every day. For comparison, only 16% parents of children who have problems with reading read books together.

In Kazakhstan only 34% respondents read books to their preschool children regularly. And it has emerged that mothers allocate time for joint reading of books, whereas every sixth father in Kazakhstan specifies he has no time. Fathers are focused on watching TV together or becoming familiar with ICT.

However, a trend of reduction of regularly reading people is seen all over the world.  Parents read books to their children before going to bed more seldom. In Great Britain 64% parents read books with their children (under 7), where every fifth does this every night. Approximately 4% (250 thousand) children under 7 do not have personal books. A share of 13-years old children who read books on weekly basis has reduced from 70% to 53% starting from 1984. A share of 17-years old who never or almost never read books more than three times a week has increased from 9% to 27%.[1].

According to USA studies, at present parents allocate more time to take care of children compared to 1965. If women's time for this increased from 10 to 14 hours per week, then men's time saw 4 times increase (from 2.5 to 10 hours per week).  However, extended working day is typical for Asian countries (Korea, Singapore, etc.) that have demonstrated high dynamics of development during transition economy.

As you know, modern family is engaged into many society life spheres. Therefore, political, socio-economic and psychological factors affect relationships in the family. Kazakhstan family is no exception. Results of the research in Kazakhstan have suggested that parents experience shortage in time required for maintaining children's interest in learning the world due to a long-lasting working day in big cities of Kazakhstan. Women are occupied at the labor market almost the same as men (correlation - 0.91, 26th place in ranking) [2]. Geneticists have established that there is a dominant impact of mother's chromosomes on intellectual abilities of children. Big role of care and social and cultural environment of mother has an impact on mental development of a child [1]. Understanding of the impact of intellect and general education level of mother on subsequent development of a child at the national level of many countries with a big dynamics of development resulted in elaboration of a particular policy.

Our country sees a trend of increase in a share of parents who allocate time for their child's development more rarely than once a week (from 8% in 2007 to 10% in 2014). It has been found out that parents of Astana and Akmolaoblast allocate the least time for their children. Parents prefer to do the following activities with children: walks (47.9%), playing (41.6%), reading (33.9%), watching TV and video materials (27.5%). Parents are engaged in creative activities: sculpturing, drawing, designing, singing more seldom.. Significant part (38%) of Kazakhstani parents limits themselves to procurement of required supplies for studying at school. Psychologists and sociologists characterize present-day children and parents relationships as those which are notable for a general trend of negligence of parental duties.

Therefore, good preschool education of children provided by parents independently or with help of specialists allows for quick adaptation of children in school and effective succession. Particularly at this age it is necessary to define and work on weaknesses and strengths of a child which will allow making a transition to school smooth and not stressful.

Raising of retirement age and a trend of extended family reduction result in seldom provision of help in caring and educating children by grandmothers and grandfathers. Accordingly, the role of grown-up generation in sharingexperience in fostering values and traditions of the family and society breaks down. Often parents go in for services of babysitters who do not have proper pedagogical knowledge and care skills which leads to cases of negligence and underuse of potential during the most perceptive period of child's development.

Parents' literacy and awareness of early development matters are expressed in ability to select proper toys according to age-specific needs. Only one forth of the respondents check out the manual and age limits of toys before they buy it for a child. Majority ofparents is not aware of requirements of the law "On toy safety".

For example, if we check the statistics of 1990-2011, 3.2 mln. children in the USA approached emergency service with injuries caused by toys. Over the period the rate of children injuries caused by toys has increased by 40%. More than a half of injured children was under 6. 63% patients were boys, and what is interesting is that the majority of cases happen at home [2].

New century of large amounts of information demands parents to form and develop new skills. There is a need to provide information safe environment for children. However, parents are familiar with methods of protection from inadequate use of information that harms health and development of infants superficially. Parents do not have skills to regulate children's information space which results in a situation where they are forced to watch and listen to undesired information.

Therefore, culture of information use by parents and children should be formed simultaneously with the dynamics of internet development in the country.

At present parent education programs with developed pedagogical methods that enable raising literacy in child's development hold a prominent place in the infant care and education system. However, parent education system of Kazakhstan within the frameworks of consultative stations under kindergartens operates inefficiently, and their services are not in demand with population.  Only 1329 children at the age of0-3 have been reached.

Distance education courses have a special place in effective solution of parent education issues. It is known that distance education courses have big quantitative and geographical reach, round-the-clock access, flexibility of educational process. Small costs for organization of distance education courses can be referred to one of not insignificant factors. This method, i.e. organization of parents training parents using distance education courses, is practiced on a wide-scale in many developed countries, for instance, in USA, New Zealand, Korea, and it allows reaching millions of audience.

Given the advantages of distance education courses, in 2015 the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan initiated development of web-structure-based distance education courses on the model of Germany (STARKE programme for training parents), Australia (Parents as Teachers). The tool allows meeting the demand for organization of quality informal training of parents and professional participants who render services in the sphere.


1. Report: "The status of the family in Singapore",

2. Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016