Home, school have same goal

Parental involvement equals student achievement, Education Officer Margaret Rose Garcia told parents in East End last week.

She, along with school counsellor Annie Mae Seymour and social worker Annette Josephs, emphasised in different ways the same basic message. That is, teachers and parents must work together because they have the same goal – helping children reach their potential.

Much of their advice endorsed parents’ or other caretakers’ own common sense. Some points raised, however, addressed situations that never existed when today’s adults were children.

Some of the ideas explored included:

Know your children’s strengths and weaknesses and encourage their efforts. Something as simple as putting a good paper on the refrigerator lets the child know his work is appreciated. A hug, a pat on the back or just a few words of compliment are also rewards.

Attend school meetings and reporting sessions. It gives the child a feeling that parents think he is important.

Visit the classroom and volunteer to assist by listening to children read or helping in the canteen or library.

Establish rules and routines, with set times for going to bed, getting up and meals. This helps children learn to organise and be more in control of what they do.

Read to and with your children at least ten minutes a day. Make sure the school child reads everyday – comics are okay. Children should also see adults reading.

The home should be a learning environment. Activities such as grocery shopping can involve children in making lists and comparing prices in the newspapers.

Enjoy your children. It’s not always material things children need. What they need is their parents. Even two minutes a day can make a difference.

Children must be taught good manners both at school and in the home.

Children must be taught respect for their elders and each other. They need to talk more and hit less.

Parents and guardians should know whom the child talks to the phone, whom he or she keeps company with, who comes to the house when adults are not there.

The school system provides speech therapists and counsellors. Make use of such resources if necessary.

Please, parents, do not use vulgar language when chastising a child.

Teach children to talk without sticking a finger in their mouth.

Teach a child to enjoy his or her own company so that boredom is not a problem.

Teenagers must know that the adults in the household are in charge. When the adult speaks, the teen must listen. There must be boundaries set. A lot of their attitude comes from the people they are hanging out with.

Don’t send children to activities in the community: take them.

Be aware of what is happening in youth groups and organisations the children belong to.

If parents are upset with a teacher, they should not disrespect that teacher in front of the child. If they do, the child will think he can do it also. The parent should come to the school and get the whole story, then work toward a solution.

Cell phones are getting students in a lot of problems. Children should know the cell phones are for emergency and the number is not to be given out to everyone. At the primary school level, the phone should be given to the teacher and collected at the end of the day.

The meeting, held at the East End Primary School, was facilitated by Mrs. Linda McField and Mr. Errol Levy of the National Parenting Programme.

Mr. Levy thanked the speakers for their down-to-earth presentations.

The meeting was the second in a series organised by the NPP and held in each district.

The first round dealt with safety issues (Caymanian Compass, 28 October). The third round has as its theme ‘balancing the budget’.