Success at School Begins at Home
There is no doubt that schooling has changed quite drastically over the last few years, and will certainly continue to do so. Kids are adaptable and tend to handle whatever is thrown at them, but one cannot ignore that a parent’s involvement can make the difference between a child simply ‘getting by’ or thriving at school. The question is: what can you as a parent do to make sure your child is in the best possible position to learn?
It Starts with You
As parents, you have the most powerful influence in your child’s life. You are their first role models and their first teachers; what you encourage them to do from a young age lays the foundation for their learning. According to research, a parent’s involvement in a child’s literacy is a far stronger influencing factor in their lives than social class, the size of the family or the parents’ own education levels. The earlier parents become involved, the more impactful it is (A Research Review: The Importance of Families and the Home Environment, 2008). For instance, read to your child from as young an age as possible, encourage them to read in their spare time and lead by example by doing so yourself.
What Can You Do?
For some parents, this may be a no-brainer, but in reality, there are parents who don’t know what’s going on in their children’s lives. Studies have shown that kids with responsive parents (e.g. parents who are more willing to help their kids with homework) are much more likely to excel at school. Take an active interest in who your kid’s friends are, what games/movies/series they’re into and how they’re doing at school. Know what kind of homework and projects they’re doing, and when those big tests are.
Encourage Healthy Habits
Pack healthy lunches – this means as little sugar as possible, and food that will sustain them over a long period of time. Encourage healthy eating habits from a young age, and try to avoid fast food as much as possible (especially during the week). Plan your mornings so that there’s enough time for a proper breakfast: your child’s ability to focus in class is depends on their tummy’s being happy and full. Health also means encouraging your child to be active. If they don’t do sport at school, or aren’t athletically inclined, encourage them to play outside or engage in other ‘non-sporty’ physical activities.
Check Your Attitude
We all know that our parents’ attitudes, feelings and beliefs influenced us as children – this doesn’t always happen consciously, and we often only realise the impact of certain behaviours as adults. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself how your attitude – what you say, how you say it, and what you do – is impacting your children? Nurturing, accepting and encouraging attitudes have shown to positively correlate with academic performance while being over-protective, authoritative, disapproving and punishing often have a negative correlation with student learning. Being accepting, however, doesn’t mean not offering motivation: kids need you to motivate them and communicate your expectations with them.
Our education system has undergone quite a few changes over the past few years, the most recent such change being the implementation of CAPS (Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement). If you aren’t sure what the implications of this are, don’t be afraid to ask! Your child’s teacher will be able to advise you on how best to assist and support your child; you’ll have a better understanding of what goes on at school and what needs to happen at home.
Bizweni Primary School Somerset West is a small, private school dedicated to providing individual attention and high-quality education for each of our students. Contact us to find out how to enroll!