Ways To Get To Know Your Child’s School Better
It is important to be familiar with what is happening in your child’s school. Here are some ways to get to know your child’s school better.
ü Make an appointment to visit
ü Talk to school professionals that work with your child
ü Tour the school
ü Talk to other parents with children in the same school
ü Read the minutes of the school board meetings
ü Read the school’s newsletters
ü Attend school functions and meetings
ü Join the PTA
Questions To Ask At A School Conference
This section focuses on questions that families can ask while attending a school conference. It can be hard to remember all of the questions that you want to ask your child’s teacher. Remember it is always good to be prepared and have some questions written down so that you do not forget to ask them while attending the conference.
ü How is my child doing?
ü What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses in the major subject areas?
ü What are the goals that you obtain for my child?
ü What achievement, intelligence, vocational aptitude tests have been given to my child in the past year? What do the scores mean?
ü Can we go over some examples of my child’s class work?
ü How does my child interact with other students?
ü Does my child need extra help in any of the academic subjects?
ü Has my child’s learning improved or declined throughout the school year?
ü Does my child regularly complete assigned work?
ü What can I do at home to help benefit my child?
ü Does my child participate in classroom activities?
ü How is my child’s in school behavior?
Tips For Home-School Collaboration
It is important to get to know your child’s school and teacher. Here are some ways you can help to increase the communication between home and school to effectively impact their child’s education.
ü Communication – You can communicate with teachers regarding information about your child’s:
o Medical history
o Developmental history
o Educational history
o Behavioral history
o Attention levels
o Family background
o Strengths/ weaknesses
ü Cooperation – You can collaborate with your child’s teacher by:
o Working with your child’s teacher
o Being patient with your child
o Understanding the school policies
o Helping your child meet goals through consistency with the school
ü Consistency – Here are some ways to help you be consistent with your child:
o Communicate with your child, your child’s teacher, and other professionals within the school that work with your child
o Homework – knowing what your child has for homework and making sure it is complete
o Attendance – Making sure your child only misses school when absolutely necessary, poor attendance can effect a child’s academic performance
o Sets goals for your child – be consistent with the goals that are set and do not give in to your child
o Rewards – give rewards only when appropriate, do not give in and give a reward when a child has not truly earned it.
o Behavioral plans – be consistent with your child’s behavior plan and make sure that your child understands the consequences for poor behavior.
Know The Different School Professionals
Many different professionals work with your child. Here is some information about the services they provide.
ü Physical Therapist (PT) – Gives instructional support and treatment of physical disabilities. Helps in improving the use of bones, muscles, joints and nerves.
ü Occupational Therapist (OT) – Gives children with mental, physical, emotional, or developmental impairments help in regards to pencil grip, physical exercises that can be used to increase strength and dexterity, or exercises to improve hand-eye coordination.
ü Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) – Helps children who have language disorders to understand and give directions, ask and answer questions, convey ideas, and improve language skills that can all lead to better academic performance. Helps families to understand and deal with speech and language disorders.
ü School Psychologist –Uses knowledge of psychology, education, and law to work with others to promote positive learning environments so children from diverse backgrounds have equal access to effective educational and psychological services to promote healthy development.
Parental Help at Home
Here are some ways in which you can help your child educationally and still have fun!
- Play card games with your children. This helps them recall numbers and the four suits (shape). It's also good for strengthening memory and problem solving.
- Set up a card table with a jigsaw puzzle on it and work on it daily, a little at a time. This is something the entire family can do, and for young children it develops fine motor skills and identification of shapes (which helps with reading).
- Go grocery shopping with your children, and let them be involved in finding specific items. (Take labels to match.)
- Allow your children to help you put items away and categorize them (all of the soups, the cereals, the cleaning supplies, and so on).
- Let your children sort laundry (categorization skills).
- Teach your children the proper way to answer the phone and take messages.
- Get a public library card and bring your child to the library regularly. (Libraries often have special events.)
- Let your child know how you use math in daily life (putting gallons of gas in the car, writing out checks for the monthly bills, counting out money, keeping track of time, checking the temperature, and adding up the items, and so on).
- Give your child responsibility and follow through to see that the job is done.
What Teachers Look For Parents To Do:
- Show support for learning at home
- Communicate positive feedback about a teacher's influence or performance
- Welcome new teachers
- Volunteer to help in the classroom
- Support fair discipline measures that teachers impose
- Refrain from assuming the worst about first-year teachers
- See that children do their homework
- Offer the workplace for a field trip when appropriate
- Talk to a teacher directly about a problem; and
Become active partners in education
Seven Things To Tell Your Child’s Teacher
- Health conditions: If your child is diabetic, uses an inhaler, is allergic to peanuts, or has a serious health condition, her teacher should know. It’s also helpful to let the teacher know whether your child has been diagnosed with conditions like ADHD, which may affect behavior and concentration.
- Family issues: Inform the teacher if your family is going through a major change that could affect your child (such as a divorce, a death in the family, or a move). Even if your child seems to have adjusted well, alert his/her teacher so he/she can watch for behavioral changes.
Personality traits or behavior issues: It is common for a child to act differently at school compared to home. It is important to inform the teacher about your child’s personality traits (for example, your child might be shy and nervous about school). It is equally important to inform the teacher how your child reacts at home. For example you may notice that your child has been having tantrums at home and you are concerned he/she will do the same at school. It is best to make teachers aware of these issues before they become a problem at school.
Strengths and weaknesses: Your child might be a star student in math but is embarrassed to read aloud. Perhaps he/she loves language arts but struggles with science. If you tell teachers your child’s strengths and weaknesses up front, they will have more time to help your children improve in the areas they need it most.
Learning style: You have spent years teaching your child (everything from potty training to tying shoelaces) so you have a good idea of his/her learning styles. If your child learns better through hands-on activities than through listening to explanations, mention that to his/her teacher. Also share any teaching strategies that you have found work well with your child. Let the teacher know what things might motivate your child to learn.
Study habits: Does your child speed through math homework but struggle with reading assignments? Does your child’s grades suffer because he/she spends so much time participating in extracurricular activities? Tell teachers about your child’s study habits and any issues he/she faces in completing the work. Teachers often can offer suggestions to make homework time go more smoothly.
Special interests: Knowing more about your child’s hobbies or interests can help the teacher to make connections within the classroom. Let the teacher know that your child loves a particular comic book superhero and that he/she is a gifted painter. When a teacher knows a child’s special interests, the teacher can use the interests to help motivate the child to learn.
10 Questions About Your Child And School
1. What is my child expected to learn?
Find out what the curriculum requirements are for your child for the school year. If your child has an IEP, known his/her individual goals. Find out what tests your child will be expected to take and when you will get the results.
2. What are the teacher’s rules?
Each teacher has different classroom rules. Find out what the teacher’s rules are in regards to homework and grading. Learn the teacher’s policies and make sure that your child understands them.
3. What behavior is expected of my child?
Through reading the school handbook you can learn the school’s dress code, attendance policy, and guidelines about the behavior expected of students. Ask your child’s teacher what his/her behavioral expectations are within the classroom. Know the consequences your child will face for inappropriate behaviors. Explain to your child how she is expected to behave and the penalties for breaking the rules.
4. How does my child behave at school?
Children tend to behave differently at school compared to at home. Ask the teacher whether your child behaves at school and whether his/her behavior is age appropriate. Find out if your child follows directions the first time they are given. Inquire whether your child is talkative at school or more reserved. Request that the teacher notifies you if he/she notices any change in your child’s behavior.
5. What is my child’s attitude towards school?
Does your child enjoy learning new things or does he/she get bored easily in class? Find out what your child’s favorite subject is and what his/her least favorite subject is. Discuss whether you child has many friends or if he/she is afraid of being teased by others. Talk to your child frequently regarding his/her attitude towards school, his/her peers and his/her teachers.
6. Is my child putting forth his/her best effort?
Check to find out if your child is motivated to learn. Find out if your child has difficulty paying attention during class and if he/she is interested in some subjects more than others. Ask the teacher if your child is working up to his/her potential. Find out if your child lacks confidence or if he/she becomes frustrated with new challenges.
7. How is my child doing in class?
Ask the teacher how your child is performing academically compared to other students at the same grade level. Grades are not everything! Inquire about how your child handles test taking. Do tests make him/her nervous? Ask the teacher to notify you if he/she notices a difference in your child where he/she feels your child might have any health issues or emotional concerns.
8. How is my child doing socially?
Talk to you child and your child’s teacher to find out how your child is doing socially. Developing social skills is an important aspect of school. Find out if your child makes friends easily or how he/she reacts to conflicts with friends. Inquire questions regarding bullying and teasing. Does your child bully other children or is he/she being teased at school?
9. What does my child have trouble with?
It is important to know your child’s problem areas and why he/she is struggling with them. Ask you child and your child’s teacher what you can do to help your child improve. Find out if the school has any resources for struggling students such as tutoring or counseling.
10. What are my child’s strengths?It is very important to know where you child is succeeding. Ask the teacher which areas your child has shown improvement in and be sure to praise him/her for the achievements.