It all starts with a great teacher and an involved parent…so SNIMC asked an amazing and dedicated 4th-5th grade LH teacher (SUSD) to suggest what parents must do to have a stronger pulse on their child’s educational progress. (1 of 2 articles in series)
5 things every parent must be practicing regularly:
- If you don’t know…ask
- Teach your child regularly
- Understand Your Child’s Strengths and Capitalize on Them
- Keep the End in Mind
- Come and See Us Once in a While
If You Don’t Know…Ask
The world of special education seems to have a language all its own. We have IEPs, APE, SLP, OT, FAPE, ESY, SH, and LH to name some. As a SDC teacher, I recognize that it can be confusing for parents to make sense of so many terms referring to various processes/services/documents. So, if you don’t understand something, don’t hesitate to ask. Understanding common acronyms is important as you navigate at every grade level for your child.
Teach Your Child Regularly
Spending just 15 minutes a day teaching a life skill (help set the dinner table, put away dishes, toys or laundry), homework, reading or just asking your child about their day at school (recess or lunch time) will increase their motivation to share their thoughts and ,in turn, will help your child strengthen critical reasoning and communication skills. Also, remember to routinely praise your child for his/her efforts. Reinforcement and encouragement also at home will help our students view learning in a positive way.
Know Your Child’s Strengths and Capitalize On Them
It’s extremely imperative for you to understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses and accept them for both. Your child is perfect just the way they are and the education system is only trying to make your child the best version of themselves, not change them. It is important to know your child’s strengths and capitalize on them. How? Find ways for your child to gain a sense of accomplishment and identify potential outlets in which their skills can shine (school talent shows, girl/boy scouts,etc). Knowing a child’s weaknesses will help parents identify practical and functional life skills essential for daily living. In essence, this is what the IEP goals and present levels are trying to do; identifying the child’s needs and helping the child make progress in those areas.
Keep The End Goal in Mind
Your child’s time in school is precious. As teachers, we have limited time with the kids; therefore, it is important that we are spending that time wisely. Take time to think about how you see your child next year, 5 or 10 years from now, especially if you have an older child. How do you see their next phase? Will they need help with social behaviors, assistive technology, self-help skills or physical challenges? Will they live with others? Making dinner? Driving a car or taking the bus? The answers to these types of questions should be shaping what your child is working on. Remember, their time in the educational system is short so developing sound IEP goals and monitoring them is critical, especially as they move into middle/high school.
Come And See Us Once In A While
Take the time to communicate with us once a week. A quick conversation in person or via emails with a teacher can help minimize confusions or concerns and more importantly know how your child is doing in the classroom. And parents make it a point to drop off/pick up your child from the classroom once in a while. Such practices will allow both parents and teachers an opportunity to exchange information and clarify any concerns. Back to School Night and Open House are equally great ways to stay connected with your child’s teacher.
LH Teacher, SUSD
(Upcoming 2nd article in the series will focus on what specific things involved parents are doing to have a strong pulse on their children’s educational progress)