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DoDEA Guidebooks Help Parents Understand School Curriculum

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2002 – Comprehensive DoD Education Activity guidebooks have just been published that are designed to help parents better understand the learning standards and curriculum for pre-kindergarten through third-grade students.

"There are five different books, one for each grade level," explained Elizabeth Middlemiss, DoDEA's associate director for education. The easy-to-use booklets review DoDEA curriculum processes for reading and writing, math, science and social studies, she added.

"A parent can go directly to a specific area and look at the specific standards that we are teaching at each grade level," she pointed out. Similar booklets done in years past weren't as comprehensive, she said.

Other new guidebook information, Middlemiss noted, includes learning activities that parents can conduct with their children at home. After parents see what's happening in the classroom, they can browse the guidebook for activities they can do at home to reinforce the children's school lessons, she said.

For example, Middlemiss continued, parents could discuss physical science with their pre-kindergartners by identifying characteristics of objects of different sizes and shapes in the home.

"(You could) look at Jell-o, or paper, or sand, or a sponge," she remarked.

Middlemiss pointed out the guidebooks include listings parents can use to inspect Web sites that support various classroom subjects. Families without in-home Internet access could visit their local public library, she noted.

"I'm sure the schools would be happy to work with them on that as well," she said.

The schools will decide how to distribute the booklets, she said. Possible methods are passing out the guidebooks at parent-teacher meetings and giving them to children to take home.

DoDEA is also working to produce another set of guides for grades 4 through 6, Middlemiss noted.

"We hope to have those out to parents by the end of the year," she pointed out. After that, plans are to have the pre-kindergarten through 6th-grade guidebooks available to parents at the beginning of each school year.

Middlemiss noted she and her colleagues are excited about the new booklets and "hope that parents will find them very useful in supporting the connection between learning that takes place in the classroom, in the home, and in the community."

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