It’s a fear that many parents have, that teachers will not understand their children’s needs. At Sparkles! we acknowledge that concern and approach it like this: teachers and parents are on the same team. We have the same goals, which include keeping children safe and well-adjusted as they continue to learn and grow. There are several ways parents can help teachers on their children’s teams. Here are some to consider.
- Communicate with your child’s teacher. This is probably the most crucial step in developing the team relationship. If your child had a rough morning, for example, tell the teacher. Explain what happened and, if you know there’s something at school such as a favorite toy that will help calm your child down, suggest using it. If you have questions about what your child does in the classroom, ask. Just coordinate with the teacher to make sure it’s a good time to talk.
- Bring a little bit of home to the classroom. There are many ways to do this, including letting your child bring to school a favorite toy, a comforting blanket, photos of you, special drawings or other positive items that will help your child connect the school day with at-home time. Let your child’s teacher know what you are brining from home so the teacher can make a big deal about it and keep the items safe.
- Show affection physically at the same time or near the same time as your child’s teacher. For example, hug your child, and then pass your child to the teacher to be hugged. Your child will recognize the affection both you and the teacher are offering and feel more secure knowing you and the teacher feel the same way about him or her.
- Help your child write the teacher a letter or draw the teacher a picture at home. This activity will help everyone bond. The teacher will appreciate the creative communication coming from both you and your child, and you and your child can share a fun activity. The letter or picture could be school related, home related or a mix. For example, you could write about a special evening you spent at home together or even write the teacher a thank-you note for being kind.
- Let your child’s teacher know if your child has special needs. While this is part of communication, many parents are uncomfortable discussing medical, cognitive or emotional needs because they do not want their children labeled, which is understandable. However, it’s often difficult for the teacher not to know why a child behaves a certain way. You want your child’s teacher to be able to address the particular needs of your child. Your teacher will want to help but cannot do so if she is not aware of that need.
- If your child is having behavioral issues, meet with the teacher to come up with a plan. There are so many creative ways to help children adapt to school and the kind of behavior needed for all to learn. Your child’s teacher is sure to know strategies, as do you. Working together will bring about the kind of positive results you, the teacher and your child want.
- Volunteer when possible and appropriate. There are ways for parents to get involved in the classroom. This partnership will demonstrate to your child that you are interested in what he or she does in the classroom and that you and the teacher are working together for his or her best interest.
Of course, all of these are suggestions. Talk to your child’s teacher about the best ways you can work together to make the most of childcare and get the best results. We want children – and parents – to be happy!