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WINGS Celebrates Kids' #1 Teachers: Parents

“If Children are to succeed in school and in life, parents have to be committed and engaged in supporting their children’s education.” Sounds like something said here in WINGS’ halls, but this was pulled from a recent media conversation with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Duncan addressed the important role parents play in children's education earlier this month at Parenting Magazine's second annual Mom Congress on Education and Learning Conference held at Georgetown University. We couldn't agree more with Duncan's point of view on the topic.

"Parents are a child's first and most important teacher—and no other job has such an enduring influence on children," Duncan went on to say.

We're in our last six weeks at WINGS, and this is one of our favorite stretches at WINGS, as each of our programs puts on events celebrating our WINGS parents. Speaking to the success of these events, and to the involvement of our parents, WINGS saw more than 80% of our parents turn out this year—a greater turnout than many local PTA chapters see at their events.

At WINGS Idol at North Charleston Elementary School earlier this month, for example, we saw grandmothers, uncles, and parents turn out to support WINGS and their youngsters—taking to the microphone and competing for the title of WINGS Idol. We heard from a grandmother who appropriately selected Civilla D. Martin's "His Eyes are on the Sparrow" to start off the event, and even heard a rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner" that would give Ruben Studdard a run for his money.

As summer break approaches, bringing with it a hiatus from WINGS, we feel encouraged by the support we see from family members at these events. We are reminded of how far our kids have come throughout the year, and these events offer a great perspective on the change WINGS has introduced within the homes of our kids.

At WINGS Idol, for example, we heard from Ollie Fountain (pictured here), a proud uncle who says his niece and nephew (A'lanna, 8; Adrian, 6) have learned how to make valuable friendships during their two years at WINGS. Fountain credits WINGS for helping both to become more aware of their emotions and the consequences of their actions, which has resulted in better decision-making at their home.

This feedback is important for us to hear, and it keeps us feeling confident as we prepare to grow the WINGS program in coming years. Parents are a crucial piece of education puzzle, and we encourage all parents—WINGS parents and otherwise—to introduce social and emotional lessons every day with kids. That's why we have a number of free social and emotional lessons on our website that we encourage families to take advantage of.

There's no quick fix for giving kids a comprehensive social and emotional education, but one thing is certain—the foundation for these important life lessons are laid at home, and the teaching requires cooperation of the parents.

 


"The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them."

- Ralph Nichols


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