With my first-born just having started preschool, I find I’m leaning into my mom’s wealth of educational knowledge more than ever before. While her philosophies on early childhood, lessons from teachers’ training, research read, and experience was woven into how she raised me and my brothers, it has been nice to pick her brain to understand more concretely what she believes and why. With nearly 40 years of experience as a teacher, school principal, and now university professor, she is no slouch when it comes to information and educational insight. While I admire so much about my dear mommy, the part of her professional prowess I love the most is her love for anyone with special needs. Whether the special needs of a particular student are circumstantial, developmental, learning related (whether they are gifted or have a learning disability), my mom has always been especially drawn to each child because of their uniqueness.
Recently, I asked her if she could share with me some of the things your child’s school principal would love every parent to know.
11 Things Your Child’s School Principal Would Like You To Know
- Become involved in the life of the school in any way you can. The school understands parents have demanding schedules, but just a little bit of time spent in the school can go a long way. Whether it’s to drive for a field trip or attend the PTA/ PAC, schools with involved parents are vibrant and enriched communities. Not only does this make a difference to the school, it is very beneficial to your child as well.
- Respect the teachers and the role they have in your child’s life. We take the idea the notion, “It takes a village to raise a child” to heart and want to work collaboratively to ensure the best for each child.
- Make sure you are positive about your communication about school with your child. Find out what the focus of the class is and support the learning by going to the library and enriching the topics through conversation and fun. (Alana’s personal side note: I had some amazing teachers, some good teachers and some teachers I could have done without. In the situation where my teachers were less than good, my mom never added fuel to the fire when I complained, she simply encouraged my own problem-solving and spoke to the school without me really knowing what was going on. This, I’m fairly sure, kept me from starting a full-blown mutiny in the classroom with my friends).
- Let your school know about important changes in your child’s life. Understanding there has been a separation of a child’s parents, the birth of a new baby, a move, or the death of a loved one or pet can help us better understand a student that may be acting out of character. Having the context for what is happening outside of the school only helps us better assist your child and their teacher.
- Build on your child’s strengths and be positive about any challenges they are facing. If your child is particularly adept at something, encourage them in this area. The confidence they feel as a result of their abilities creates a spill-over effect for areas they may struggle in. In turn, speaking favourably about efforts in the subjects they struggle in can act as invaluable motivation.
- If your child has any unique learning need or health concerns let the principal and teacher know. You may want to minimize your child’s struggles or concerns you have about your child to ensure they put their best foot forward. However, in being as upfront with the school as possible, we can work to provide your child all of the support and insight they deserve.
- Email is GREAT for small details, but is not ideal for big issues. If you have a concern, make an appointment and have a face-to-face meeting. Although email communication can be efficient, personal communication is more effective for problem-solving. Email is perfect for questions about supplies or homework, but problems are best sorted in person. It leaves less to interpretation and can get resolution must faster and more efficiently.
- Two of the best extracurricular activities for your child include lots of free play and reading. Both help stimulate imaginations, promote literacy, increased vocabulary, and focus. In play, children practice skills like numeracy, increases problem-solving, cognitive-linguistic abilities, memory, and reasoning (read more here).
- Have a regular routine and provide good nutrition for your child.
- Although technology is an incredible tool, reduce screen time and increase green time. Make sure your child gets lots of outdoor play and physical activity. Outdoor play is great for overall health but also prompts new play ideas and can help regulate stress and other emotions (read more here).
- Teach social responsibility and kindness. Resist the natural inclination to solve your child’s problems. Let them learn through experiences. The only way to develop into a kind, mature, responsible person is to learn resiliency.
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