By Yvonne Sam
As our kids return to school, ready to start another school year, it is important that parents, especially those who have kids entering school for the first time, be on the same page.
For a school year to be deemed successful, parents, teachers and children must be involved in building strong relationships and partnerships.
Starting on the right foot starts when clear goals and objectives are created, and parents and children each fully understands the part that they must play in making the school experience the best it can be.
Another important component of educational success is for parents to be actively involved in their child’s education.
Plainly stated, the child needs to see, from the beginning, that its parent and teacher are on the same team, thus parents are called upon to form positive relationships with the school and school personnel.
Remember that the school is on your side, so parents, never let your child see or hear you speak about the teacher or any school personnel in a depreciatory manner.
Relationship problems develop when parents visit the school, only when they are called to do so—usually when the child is in trouble. Keep in touch with the teacher via email, phone, or student agenda, as these are key things to use as communication tools from the school to the home.
Of further importance, is the fact that it should be instilled, very early in the child, that instructional time is precious and every minute counts. Efforts lead to good results and rewards.
Too often we see school children heading to school, walking as they did not have a care in the world, or school was waiting on them.
Get children in the habit of reading as a routine, for reading unlocks the mind for learning. He/she who read –leads. Each night parents should read with the child for at least half an hour. This helps prepare the child for learning and also improves reading and comprehension skills. Parents can also have the child read to them, and they in turn read to the child, and in the process ask questions for comprehension.
Also, set up regular times to schedule taking the children to the library and let them choose books that they want to read and on the correct level. Speaking from stark experience, most community libraries cannot boast of our children being among their frequent users.
Have daily conversations with your child about what is happening in its/their lives, listening carefully for signs of bullying or being bullied. Opening lines of communication can effectively prevent underlying problems or concerns over peer pressure or other problems.
Parents need to know and understand that learning begins at home and that they are their children’s first pedagogue, while painstakingly instilling in the child that education is a lifelong undertaking, is powerful and should not be taken for granted.
In the process, discuss with them your expectations about academics, and remind them that a good education is one thing that no one can rob them of.
Yvonne Sam, a retired Head Nurse and Secondary School Teacher, is Vice-president of the Guyana Cultural Association of Montreal. A regular columnist for over two decades with the Montreal Community Contact, her insightful and incursive articles on topics ranging from politics, human rights and immigration, to education and parenting have also appeared in the Huffington Post, Montreal Gazette, XPressbogg and Guyanese OnLine. She is also the recipient of the Governor General of Canada Caring Canadian Citizen Award.