I get calls at least weekly from parents who are distressed about what is happening in their child's classroom every day. The parent is usually concerned with how their child is understanding material and concepts in the classroom, how the material is being accommodated or modified and how teachers perceive the child's progress. Parents aren't sure what to do or how to proceed. I think parents do need to take an active role in their child's education. There are a couple great ways to do this. The first one I will share today; the next in a follow up post.
One strategy that I always encourage parents to practice with their kids is to ask specific questions about their day. Simply asking ANY child on a given day how their day was does not often yield the best results. And to a child's credit, there ARE a lot of things that happen during a school day and some are far more interesting to parents than to kids. And sometimes, kids are so happy to be out of school that they are loathe to revisit it even in conversation. Asking the same child how they enjoyed the assembly or what they did in PE is a little more direct and something that will likely trigger a specific memory. Another guided questioning strategy is asking them what they found challenging or enjoyable during the day. Asking who they played with at recess or who their science partner was can also address any social concerns. IF your child indicates that they did nothing, played with no one, talked to teacher and still doesn't understand the content, feels lonely or unsettled, then it's time to call a conference. Vigilance is key. Do not wait until things get better. And if they are better by the conference, that's ok. There will still be plenty to discuss. It may be that your child's perception is different than the school's. It's important to keep perspective in mind. Asking for specific feedback is crucial to facilitating an understanding from the teacher and administration. Setting a follow up meeting is very important to assess whether the concerns are truly addressed. But far too often I find that the two sides - School and Parent are very far apart. If you are not feeling like you are communicating effectively or your concerns are falling on deaf ears, give us a call. We will definitely be able to help. After all, your child's well being should not be a flip of a coin.