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Family The First School

hild’s socialization commences from his/her family. Family always starts in nurturing a child into the fundamentals of life as early as when the child is able to accept formations and when he/she begins to utilize the innate ability to learn.



Child’s socialization commences from his/her family. Family always starts in nurturing a child into the fundamentals of life as early as when the child is able to accept formations and when he/she begins to utilize the innate ability to learn. For peace to reign in a society, one needs to know the customs and norms of a society which family teaches her members. When a child is little all he knows of the society is what his parents and siblings, including other members of the family teach him/her and that, the child may observe the society, and it is only from the family that he or she receives instructions about what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in the society.

Before I delve fully into the crux of the theory of family as the First School, it is paramount to explicate the concept of these often used words “family” and “school”.


Family: looking at the etymological meaning of family. Family comes from the Latin word “Familia”. It has to do with a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity or co-residences. In most societies, family is the principal institution for the socialization of children. For anthropologists, family can be matrilocal (mother and her children), conjugal or nuclear (wife, husband and children) and consanguine or extended family in which parents and children co-reside with other members of one parent family. In reference to Oxford advanced Learner’s Dictionary, family is defined as a group of people with a common goal and interest can also be regarded as a family. Also in reference to the same dictionary,


School is defined as a place where children go and be educated. It can also be seen to be a place of co-working of teachers and students with the aim of achieving a common goal, interest and objective which have been to educate children.

Reviewing the concepts of both words, one can easily bring to a conclusion that family is the first school where the members of the family serve in capacity as the teachers (parents as the first teacher) in educating and training the children, but conclusion is not yet to be made, let’s continue in finding out ‘HOW’ and ‘WHY’ family is the First School.

The role of family for the earliest development of a child is quite valuable; this can take on both emotional and academic forms. From an emotional standpoint, the learning a child receives from the earliest ages can play a very strong role on how the child consistently introduced and exposed to positive and healthy ways to address conflicts and challenging situations, there is a greater chance that they will model these situations themselves. Conversely, if a child is exposed to harsh condition and unproductive or abusive manners in which to address problems, there is a strong chance that this is how they will react to such situations.

Academically, there is a significant research which suggests that if a child receives instruction and exposures to concept from early age, the familiarity will increase and there will be a greater chance they understand these concepts when they are exposed to them in schools. Conversely, for example, if a child has not been exposed to reading or other aspects of instruction outside the classroom, there is a chance that comprehending these concepts will be difficult, or there will be much success if the child had been exposed to concepts from an earlier point. It is not enough for parents to produce children but the onus lies on them to train these children mentally, socially, culturally, religiously, and otherwise. They allow their children to play with their mates. Here they learn certain skills and behaviors.

Father, mother and other members of family are indispensable agents of Child’s socialization and socialization itself is the process of educating and instilling in children the values of a particular society. Note: the family is the perfect institution for the socialization of children. School as an institution is the continuation of child’s education from where the family stopped or is the helper of the family.

Family being the first school means that Child’s education initially commences from the person’s home. It is said that Charity begins at home. Family plays very crucial role in educating a child in the first stage before the child proceeds to the school for formal education.

Pondering on this, when formal education has not become the event of the day, that is before the emergence of colonial masters to the country Nigeria as a case study, people still exhibit and practice certain skills usually acquired as a cause of education and other skills but in a minute and not improving form, all these are what are been learnt in the schools today but in an improved form.

As life starts at a point, so as human education starts from the family. Family education always influences one’s life especially one’s social and academic life. This is to say that poor family education is a gigantic threat to one’s future and perfect up-bringing is more credit to one’s future. It is clear that no one skips primary school education to secondary school education or high school education, so as no one can skip family education to primary/nursery school education as the system of education in most country like Nigeria would have it. Hence, both family and school have different roles to play in children’s lives.

At this juncture, a good elucidation of concept of “Formal” and “Informal” education is also paramount to the best grasp of the theory of “Family As The First School”, hence it will contribute in ensuring the nicety of this theory. Pause a while and ponder on these words “Formal” and “Informal” with the sole purpose of making meaning out of them before proceeding to the dictionary meaning of both words, but then I will like equally to inculcate in you that the major purpose of school is education; invariably, where one can be educated is considered to be school.


Informal education, as the name implies, is the type of education that is given outside the four corners/walls of the classroom. The children are taught the dos and don’ts of the society, the customs, beliefs and manners which are part of educating them and there socialization begins to take place. The young ones (boys) are taught on how to farm, hunt, use of warfare weapons, while the girls receive education in areas of farming, cooking, how to take care of home, passed through appropriate institutions by the parents and other members of the community. Also, the customs and tradition of the family and the entire society are laid bare to them. Furthermore,


Formal education, unlike informal education and as the name implies as well, it is the type of education that is dispensed within the four walls of the classroom which usually uses examination as criteria of testing for children’s knowledge and understanding; this together with the place and nature of the place is been dispensed have been the most perceptible peculiarity between formal education and informal education.

Informal education which usually takes place in the family has a gigantic impact on the lives of children since it takes place in the initial foundation of child’s formation and this has made it practical that poor family education brings about poor foundation and poor foundation always hampers one’s future successes.

It is within the family that children were raised and formed as human beings. The parental role in this human formation is governed by love, a love which places itself at the service of children to draw forth from them (e-ducere) the best that is in them, and which finds its fullest expression precisely in the task of educating (compendium no. 239). That is the reason; family is called the First School (Ludus Primus). Instructions received from family members is made stronger by the emotional bonds between them, of course, the influence of the family fades over time relatives to that of peer groups but basic foundation laid by the family persists.

Furthermore, the family helps the children to begin to develop the enthusiasm to acquire more knowledge and this is all about education. The family infuses in the children honesty, trustfulness, others which includes cultural, ethical, social, spiritual, and religious values, again how to live a virtuous life and this geared towards perfection.


By the way of conclusion, family is the place of commencement of education and it is in the family that children are intrigued more on the basics and critical part of education before they are admitted to proceed to classroom for formal education. It is the early positive model that a child experiences that gives him hope for his own future in society and the self-esteem to follow it through and make it work for him and those he is yet to meet. Family has been the first school; hence, it plays a great and sensitive role in the initial formation of a child. Let’s begin to recognize family as the first school, if we haven’t been doing so, due to ignorance, simple ideology or any other reason(s) that may in one way or the other shrouded our mind towards recognizing and accepting the fact that family is the first school.

This article is written by Prince Alajekwu Chinagbaogu and it has been published in international Magazines, National Magazines and school Magazines.


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