Teachers around the world are finding that more and more of their students are turning up to school without the essential foundation they need to get ahead.
In fact, a study in Illinois has suggested 1-in-4 children are starting kindergarten without meeting the basic skills needed, let alone having a head start on the motor and emotional skills they need to survive formal education.
As teachers, we know our job is to provide children with the knowledge they need to do well in life, but the support of parents can make all the difference.
It can be easy to consider teaching and parenting as completely separate entities. But they’re more interconnected than you might think, and simply keeping the two separate is not the ideal solution to helping your child get good grades, develop properly and enjoy school and learning.
The support of parents when it comes to teaching can have a distinct effect on that child’s ability to do many things, including:
- Their ability to effectively communicate with peers and adults
- Their capacity to use fine motor skills and balance to sit still and listen, something that is more and more of an issue in schools
- Their interest in learning and engagement with activities like reading and writing
- Their capability to manage their emotions and control their behavior in a classroom setting
With all of these factors playing such a vital role in how well a child does in school, it’s easy to see why it’s so vital for parents to get a little more involved in the education process. While going too far the other way, and scheduling every second of your child’s day to be educational, can also be a problem, striking a good balance can help teachers to help your children in the long run.
So how do I think parents can help me, as a teacher, to ensure their child succeeds in school? Here are just a few ways:
Form a working relationship with your child’s teachers
If we’re not in the loop when it comes to our students, we’re not able to provide them with all the help they need. By forming a relationship with the parents of our students, we can provide better care for their children, and offer more tailored support for their specific needs. Should you experience any behavioral issues or other problems with your child, talking to their teacher should be one of the first steps you take. Working together, it’s possible to achieve far more than working alone.
For parents worried about the language barrier, or those who have busy lives, there are options available. Whether it’s communication over email using language translation, or speaking to the school about an interpreter, there’s always an option out there. Being a partner with your child’s teacher is only a good thing when it comes to providing them with a better education.
Offer academic support at home
Is your child struggling to get his or her grade up in Math, or do they want you to look over their homework? Being present and aware of your child’s education can be a gift to teachers, not only providing students with additional support but helping them to learn at their own pace. By knowing how your child is doing at school, and getting more involved in their homework, reading, and writing, parents can offer children an additional layer of support to help them grow in confidence.
Being more in-tune with your child’s education also makes it easier for you to spot when extra help is needed. As teachers, we manage 25+ students in each class. As your child can be your main focus, you’re able to spot issues as they arise far more quickly. By working in partnership with your child’s teacher, you can help them access support as and when they need it – far more effectively than hands-off parenting could provide.
As teachers, we’re not asking parents to become secondary educators to their children. Instead, by simply showing interest and being up-to-date on what’s going on, parents can act as cheerleaders and support networks for their children beyond the classroom. With that support, it’s far easier for kids to exceed expectations and reach their dreams.
How do you support your child to learn and develop outside of the classroom?