All too often educators have focused their attention on what parents should be doing to support their child’s educational experience as school. The most effective school environment is based on a team approach – a team which includes teachers, students and their parents and that there be open, honest and clear 3-way communication for greatest success. It is often forgotten that one of the roles of a parent is as an advocate for their child, and that parents need to be listened to and their concerns recognized as valid. On occasion, while teachers and parents may have ‘to agree to disagree’ regarding a situation, when the two parties sit down together sharing a common concern for the child, then some excellent strategies can result from these differing points of view.
While all parents want their child’s teacher to deliver a quality education program, teaching the various curriculum concepts and skills, it is the often unspoken parent expectations that are most important in determining their child’s degree of success in school.
The following are five key recommendations that parents wish teachers would do to set the stage for a successful learning experience for their child:
1) My child is a unique individual with his or her own particular range of undeveloped gifts and talents. Please do not prejudge or set limitations to what they can or cannot do. With the right degree of support, they will surprise you!
2) The brain works best in a happy, positive environment with plenty of fresh air. Please provide a bright, visually stimulating and fun learning experience that suits my child’s individual learning style.
3) Watch for and celebrate both the small and big steps forward. This will go a long way to support the magic of exploration and for learning to blossom for my child.
4) Please behave in a professional manner and do not talk about my child to other parents and staff members except in the most positive manner.
5) Please promote ‘inclusiveness’ in the classroom and in the school for the child who is shy, atypical, or who marches to a different drummer. Often these children see the world through a different lens and have the potential to make a difference in their world in later years.
True learning is a progressive experience and it is not simply about getting the right or wrong answer to a question. It is about learning how to use and apply new knowledge to their expanding understanding of their own world – to analyze, to problem solve, to develop strong leadership skills, to communicate and to interact effectively with others.
When teachers and parents interact with dignity and respect, and co-operatively work together, this sets a firm foundation for a child’s successful educational experience.
Linda Sweet M.S. Ed.
Founder and Director, Glenburnie School
Pre-School to Grade 8
Providing a progressive, innovative educational experience