by SUE HYDE
The evidence is strong that there is a very positive impact when parents engage with their child’s school. If a parent’s own school experience was unpleasant this might be difficult, but when you understand the importance, you will see it is worth giving it a try.
Research has shown when parents regularly engage with their child’s school: their children will
• perform better academically
• enjoy and appreciate school more
• develop an enhanced self-esteem and self- efficacy, the belief that they can achieve their goals.
The curriculum is no longer secret school business, parents are able to access the documents on line, so you will know about what they are learning and can talk about the ideas both with your children and their teacher.
Communicate and build a relationship with your child’s teacher regularly, don’t wait for formal teacher interviews. You can send them an email, make a phone appointment, arrange to meet after class, but let them know you are interested, appreciate and acknowledge the teacher’s effort to support your child. Offer help in any way that you can, attend functions, read and talk about the school newsletter, show your children that you value their day at school. Ask “what was the best thing about school today?”
Hold a conversation and read to your child every day, (even when they are able to read) and listen to their reading. Expand their understandings by asking open ended questions. Introduce them to a new word every day and make it fun; first one back with the definition wins the prize. When corrections are needed, repeat or model the correction rather than saying that’s wrong. Talk about feelings, sensations, images, events and ideas. Develop a belief that learning is important, it is fun, and it opens up new worlds. You will not regret it.