There’s so much to write on this question–millenia of experiences–so I will resist the urge and just add a couple of ideas.
Yesterday, I visited a California charter school. It was lovely. It had great programs, students, teachers. Everything there seemedto be working on all cylinders.
During the tour, the elementary school principal then told us, “If I could get moms to put them to bed early.”
If… moms and dads would talk to their kids, what a huge difference that would make for children in school.
There is lots of research on this. If parents talk to children–about anything and everything–that experience makes a huge difference for children in school, especially for reading, vocabulary, readiness for learning.
See several examples:
And from the Nataional Institute for Literacy
And across the pond, see this BBC report on the importance of talking with children. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6336221.stm
If…moms and dads would feed kids good stuff, and not just donut holes, sugars, and more carbs!
If…to quote our President, moms and dads would turn off the televisions and computers and help kids to do their homework.
If…what would you add?