How to make 2017 your child’s best school year ever…
We all want the best for our children, we want them to be successful humans with a good job and happy in their life for their future. It all begins at school where they grow and develop without Mum and Dad looking over their shoulder all day.
As a parent and teacher our greatest worry is for our children’s happiness. This begins in how they feel at school, due to social connections and academic expectations. Our role is to guide so we can provide them with the correct skills to help them gain useful habits to get the best from school.
Primary Schooling’s main role is to provide our children with these skills:
- making friends – relationship building with peers and other adults
- feeling happy within
- learning communication
- learning respect, resilience, risk-taking
Core Academic Skills
- learning the basics of education; reading, writing and mathematic skill
- general knowledge of our world
Everything else is taught at home before schooling begins:
Manners, how to treat others, toileting, eating correctly, respect and how to listen.
Teachers are doing a better job at educating than we have ever done and statistics highly support this even thought the media would have you believe otherwise. Teachers are completing more Professional development than every before; updating skills every six months with rigorous questions and checking of their skill base.
Teacher and parents want children to achieve high standards for themselves and we want success and generally better success than we personally had achieved. Our issue is the speed at which we can teach the new developments in the world. Children’s brains are busier than ever before and too often we continue to fill them with more – more information, more worry, more things to think about, etc. When it comes to education, many children only pick up some parts of the learning and generally these are the parts that they are more engaged in hence the delivery beginning different to when we went to school.
This is not new information as we have had children learn like this for centuries. However, the difference is the amount of subject matter and general information they are provided with.
An example of this is how much writing skill has vastly changed.
Students learn sentence structure, grammar, spelling for writing but also: how to email, add links, animation, imagery, selling yourself, using a keyboard successfully, learning the programs, writing in computer coding and using the applications that go with writing. Creating movies; composing a musical tune; developing a moving robot with coding. It is different to how we learnt simple writing 20 years ago where we simply wrote on paper with a pencil or pen. These children learn multi-faceted layers of writing skill; in different genre types – whether it’s to persuade or entertain with many other additions to the simple writing we learnt.
No matter what we are teaching – mathematics, spelling, grammar or general knowledge, as a teacher we try to find the superhero in every child we teach. What are their strengths? What do they love? What stimulates their minds and provides them with intrinsic motivation (the ability to want to do something because you want to do it, not because someone else wants you to do it)?
So how do we do this? Here are some of tips:
Helping your child
- Read with them everyday (anything; books, magazines, newspapers; iPad information text; whatever the child loves and is a positive time for them). Either listening to them read or reading to them.
- Listen to them speak to you about their day. B. tip – actually stop what you are doing and listen (with ears and eyes).
- Allow them time to speak freely and communicate things they actually learnt; don’t rush or probe too hard, allow them time to get it out even of they ‘stutter with many uhms and ahhhs’ this is the recall of real embedded learning.
- Look at them and make them look at you when you are speaking: spelling is best learnt though out mouth movements and of hear, see, say, learn.
- Have spelling words around your home in a visual manner; limit the amount of words to about 12 each week.
- Have basic mathematics facts also around the home; best time to learn is breakfast time as their brains are fresh and open.
- Read notes or emails sent home from class teacher or school; (this is so important!) all of the information you require is communicated in written form through schools to ensure you are well informed of goings-on ; if you miss something for your child it can create a snowball effect for them and for yourself.
- Nourish their bodies with fun fitness; walking, scootering, running, bike riding – before school as a family – and feed their bodies with fresh foods; breakfast, lunch and dinner meals.
- Limit sugar intake for all meals and snacks but add more water.
- Set up rules for study or brain time, technology time, active time and relax time.
- Brain time: homework, reading, assignment writing
- Technology time: ipad, computer work, gaming
- Active time: bike riding, sports training, scooter, trampoline jumping, skipping, skateboarding, surfing, dancing etc
- Relax time: craft, journal writing, reading, walking, bushwalking, yoga, tv watching, listening to music
b.tips: limit technology to 15 minutes : children’s eyes and brains cannot cope with longer than this time as it affects their development. We set timers to help us remember.
Hindering your child at school
- Lingering around the classroom or around the school in school teaching times. Not only does this unsettle your child, it also causes anxiety amongst the other children.
- Carrying their school bag: allow responsibility to the child for their own school bag, lunchbox, hat and water bottle.
- Avoid being results driven: allow children to learn at their own pace, it is not a race.
- Avoid negative discussion about other children, parents or teachers: FACT: these sideline comments ARE repeated to others so be aware of things said, in front of children, in the school car parks, outside the classroom or in the grocery aisles.
- Avoid making excuses for your child’s behaviour: allow them to take ownership of their mistakes when they are made. By facing mistakes early in life, children create a resilience and therefore are more accepting of them as they continue through life.
- Avoid high sugar foods: as they cause children to feel scattered in their thought and the food affects their ability to retain information.
Remember your children are children and sometimes they tell you special stories that are NOT 100% correct because they are looking through children’s eyes. Just like the teacher does not believe everything your child tells us about you and your life.
If you look for the good in your child’s school and their teacher’s you will enable your child to grow, flourish and develop with a positive attitude. This will enable them to get the most out of their education and be successful in whatever it is they choose. Let’s work together in helping children find their superhero qualities.
Health and Happiness always,