Those first three years of school are full of challenges. Here’s how to help your child make the grade, and what to do when he doesn’t.
When you look at what children learn in grades one, two and three, it’s really quite remarkable. Priscilla Vale, author of The On/Off Switch for Learning says the primary school years are full of achievements and milestones. The basics of reading, writing and mathematics are all covered and that means “the big challenges are to learn and understand symbols such as letters which are symbols for sounds. Children need to learn to be comfortable with symbols. This is the primary job of early formal academics.”
Vale says parents and children can partake in home activities to help support the learning that takes place in the classroom. “One of the greatest things a parent can do to reinforce understanding of symbols is to read about and talk about with a child what is in a book and on a page, to point to the pictures and talk about them, and to invest pictures and words with emotional connotations such as joy and excitement.”
Of course the first few years of school are a big step for any children to adjust to not only academically, but emotionally and socially. Like any new challenge in life sometimes things don’t go quite as smoothly as you’d hoped. Professor emerita of education, Dr. Margie Mayfield points out that “children who won’t talk about what’s going on, are reluctant to go to school, who don’t seem to talk about any friends at school” may be experiencing some trouble adjusting. If this is the case with your child then Professor Mayfield says your first line of contact should be the teacher who is likely “very good about flagging potential problems, particularly if parents raise the issue.”
Fortunately most schools are well equipped to help the child who is having difficulty says Mayfield. “I think your best ally when children are having problems, is the school. Schools are set up to deal with problems. I think it’s important to realize that not every child has an easy task of adjusting to school and getting off to a good start, and that there are provisions to help children. The important thing is to address the issue because prevention or early intervention is always much better than waiting until it becomes a crisis in five, six, seven or twenty years.”
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Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.