“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” Margaret Mead
It’s mid September, your child is back at school, and you met the enthusiastic young teacher. Are you and your child ready to take on the challenges of the new school year? The lingering warmth of summer, the cool nights with the crickets still singing their merry tune makes everyone want to hang on to the summer spirit, but suddenly it’s over. What now? How can you make the best of the new school year? Think positive.
Do not let anyone tell you that school is easy. Generally it involves hard work, on the part of the teacher and the student. Discovering new concepts, learning math techniques, and memorizing historical facts are all part of opening new doors of learning. At times it feels tedious, and you have to remind yourself that this is all part of the educational process. Encourage your child to keep asking questions, as questioning is very important to the learning process. Challenge your teachers to think outside of the box in their interactions and classroom planning, and maybe even turn the box around for some children.
If your child struggles with learning, you can help your child by focusing on their strengths. Maybe he is adept with the computer, and can help the teacher with organizing some of the technology in the classroom. Or maybe she knows a lot about the outdoors, and can share this with her friends and teacher, and be part of a garden group that is then initiated by the class. Each child has individual strengths, and a good teacher taps into these strengths in the classroom, teaching the children how to think in the process.
Here are some things to remember as you ease into the new school year, especially if your child has some learning challenges:
- Be sure to communicate regularly with the classroom teacher.
- Encourage your child to advocate for his or her needs with the teacher.
- Sit down with your child in the evening and encourage him with his homework to think positively.
- Read stories and books to your child on a regular basis, so she can experience a love for language.
- Reward your child’s efforts by taking him on excursions on the weekend such as the Royal Winter Fair, the zoo, or a local museum. Much positive learning happens outside the classroom.
- Take time to listen to your child and the needs expressed, and spend time thinking together, both in and outside the box.
Have a great year!