This last discussion point is one that I pondered for a while.
The demands of the 21st-century workplace require us to sit up and take notice. Our children have lofty goals set before them and they will need to work hard to be competitive in the workplace.
Schools are hard at work creating learning environments where children can become good problem solvers and strategic thinkers; they are learning skills that they can use to help create solutions.
These are exciting times in education, and schools need families to partner with them and work together to create an environment for optimum success. So how can parents help their child succeed in school?
• Children are born eager to learn. Offering them interesting things to explore will encourage curiosity.
• Talk with your child about life’s everyday experiences. Talking with children before, during and after any activity helps them better understand the steps involved in learning and helps them make meaning out of these experiences. Spending time talking and listening to your children will also help you better understand their viewpoint, values, dreams and interests.
• Answer your child’s questions or help them find the answer. This will help foster understanding, value and self-respect.
• Create routines. Children who can count on a routine — regular meals, baths, sleep times — find that, when it is time for school, they are ready.
• Encourage hard work — and convey the message that, if you try hard, the results will come. Children who are encouraged to put effort into their work learn that they can be proud of effort and they are less inclined to give up easily.
• Celebrate successes to build confidence and encourage your child’s high hopes and dreams.
Of course, these suggestions may not seem so difficult — but they are not necessarily easy, either, in our fast-paced lives. If we work together to promote a safe home and school environment where our kids feel loved, are encouraged to take risks, try new things, work hard and learn from mistakes, then our children will learn many of the lessons they need to reach their life goals.
Remember, it takes devoted schools and parents working together.
— Debra Mann is principal of Griffin Elementary School.