Adult Education Expert Speaks with Today’s Parent

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Prof. Tricia van Rhijn

Why do so many parents with children in school decide to go back to upgrade their education themselves?

That was the question Today’s Parent magazine asked of Prof. Tricia van Rhijn, from U of G’s Department of Family Relations & Applied Nutrition.

Statistics show that four percent of Canadian parents are attending school at any time. Van Rhijn, who has studied the reasons moms and dads go back to school, told the magazine many parents go back to school for personal reasons, such as wanting to set a good example to their children, or fulfilling a postponed dream.

But the most common reasons, her research has found, are practical: a need for more income because a spouse has lost their job or because they’re moving, for example, or a need for a career with higher income.

While some parents return when their kids are in preschool and others wait until their children are older, Van Rhijn’s research has found that for most parents, there is no “right” time.

“The right time to go back to school is when it’s right for you,” she said.

Van Rhijn is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and an interdisciplinary social scientist with research interests related to early childhood education and adult education..