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Monday, October 3, 2011

School Bell: A Good School Start?

For most of our children, school has been in session for roughly a month now.  How are your children doing?  If you are concerned, this is probably a good time to get the perspective of your child's teacher, and to share your perspective on the child's progress or struggles with that teacher.

1. Adapting: Most kids have now adapted to the new teacher, the new classmates, new schedule, maybe even new school.  If you have a child who is still anxious each morning, or who talks about not knowing where to go when, or who has not yet found a classmate to connect with, make an appointment with their teacher to discuss the teacher's view.

2. Work Habits:  Concentration, organization, time management, attention to deadlines, etc. are some of key work habits students need to develop. How is your child doing? Often habits at home and habits at school are different. You can share your perspective on your child's home work habits. The teacher can let you know about your child's work habits in the classroom.

3. Academic Load: Many schools have an expectation of roughly 10 minutes per grade level for normal academic work. [10 min for 1st grade, 60 minutes by 6th grade, etc.] How does that fit with your child's efforts? Keep track of your child's nightly school work time and emotional response.  Let the teacher know if your child is struggling, need's a great deal of assistance or spends too long.  Check what your school's time expectations are. 

4. Social Interaction: School is not just about academics.  Academic success is impacted by a child's social experiences at school. Check with her/his teacher and share any feedback you've gotten at home. Is there enough interaction?  Too much?  Good circle of friendships?  Risky circle?  Odd man out or social butterfly or what? 

These are just four areas for you to consider and to discuss with your child and his or her teacher if you have any concerns since the school year began.  If you are worried, don't wait until report cards. A month has passed.... shoot an email or note or phone call to the teacher to exchange information and perspectives. That is the most effective way to begin evaluating whether there is a problem and, if so,coming up with a solution or plan of action.  Good luck!

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