The new school year is an important time to recommit being an active part of your child’s education. Being engaged and involved gives you a backstage pass to school activities and what your children are learning in the classroom as well as to their teachers, school leaders, classmates and friends.
I first got involved when my son entered kindergarten. While my level of involvement varied over the years because of the time I had available due to work, family commitments and other factors, at every stage of their education I saw firsthand how being engaged helped my children — and all children — succeed and reach their full potential.
Here are three ways to be engaged, start the new school year strong and help your child stay on track.
1. Be a partner in your child’s learning
Develop a relationship with your child’s teacher and keep in touch with them often. You can provide knowledge and information that will help them get to know your child as an individual and better support their growth and achievement. Your child’s teacher, in turn, can provide ways you can support and reinforce at home what your child is learning in school.
2. Talk about school matters at home
Encourage your child to talk about their day and express their joys and their concerns by using open-ended questions. This is an easy way to learn firsthand your child’s strengths and weaknesses and what activities they like and don’t like. An open, ongoing dialogue is critical. If an issue comes up at school, these conversations will help your child feel more comfortable talking to you about it.
3. Take advantage of online resources
A wide variety of resources and tools are available online and free of charge to arm you with information on what your child should be learning in each grade, how well your child has learned the skills they need to succeed in the next grade, what activities you can do at home to support your child’s learning and more. They’re just a quick Google search away! Also, frequently view your school’s website and parent portal to stay up-to-date on school, parenting and student issues.
Jim Accomando, President, National PTA, [email protected]