It is your child’s first year of ‘big school’ and parent-teacher meetings are fast approaching. You might not have the faintest idea, except to ask, ‘So, how is Sam going at school?’ It’s been ages since you’ve set foot in a school. You will have an allocated time alone with your child’s teacher and you want to use the time well.
We want our kids to feel safe and happy at school. If there are tears at school, you probably already know about them. There might be issues in the yard that the school needs to monitor. Rest assured, your child’s teacher has been communicating with you and should have contacted you with any major concerns by now. You’ve got 15 minutes:
You want your child’s teacher to know:
- The family situation at home- (who lives at home?)
- If there is any unusual stressor at home which might affect the child
(divorce/illness/foster care situations/access and custody arrangements)
- What makes your child who they are… (teaching and learning are about relationships. Knowing something unique about a student provides a perfect foundation for teachers to build on the known and link to new learning)
- If they had a particular issue at preschool and whether it is still a problem
- Any extra-curricular activities/talent (which might be something to talk about at school as another way to link home and school)
- If there is Dyslexia, Autism, anxiety, other learning or health challenges in the family- which might help to explain any difficulties, (to then provide timely support as needed)
- How many siblings at the school (the big picture)
- Your availability (should the teacher need to meet with you)
- Whether your child is resisting going to school, home reading or not eating (coming home with a full-lunch box) etc..
You want to know:
- Is my child has settled at school? (Do they seem happy?)
- How connected your child is with friends and people at school? (If your child doesn’t speak of friends at home)
- What does my child like at school? (A teacher’s perspective)
- Does my child work well in a group? Is this a realistic goal at this age?
- Is my child focussed and do they complete tasks on time?
- Do they mix well with other peers (in the classroom and outside at playtime)
- Does my child have friends? (How many/any issues? If your child does not speak about friendships)
- Are they working at standard for a child their age?
- Has my child shown interest or strength in a particular learning area?
- Are there obvious difficulties in any learning areas?
- Can I support my child’s learning in any way? (What can you do at home?)
- Are parent helpers needed (if you wish to volunteer time)
- Does my child independently ask for help when unsure?
Visit the school’s website and FB page. There will be class blogs, newsletters and assemblies to learn about school activities. Always keep the doors of communication open between home and school.
Try not to talk about important matters (unless they are urgent) at the line, in the corridor or at the classroom door. Should there ever be a concern, make an appointment with your child’s teacher to properly meet and to support your child at school and discuss ways forward. Your child’s teacher will appreciate time to sit and talk openly with you. You are a team.
You may also like to read: