Before sending your little one off to the big-kid world of classroom learning, here are some important tidbits that teachers want parents to know.
1. Fill out your emergency contact information Forms are sent home during the first week, and should be returned ASAP. Keep info up to date and let teachers know how your child will be getting to and from school, who is authorized to pick her up, etc. “Safety is paramount,” says Leahann Louise Costello, a senior kindergarten teacher in Ajax, Ont. Don’t forget to let your child know who will be there when the bell rings.
2. Take your tot for a checkup “We strongly advise you to take your child to the eye doctor and ear doctor,” Elia Kontostergios says. “Ultimately, the goal is for your child to enhance her oral communication skills, and learn to read and write. All three of these components are strongly linked to hearing and eyesight.”
3. Work on fine motor skills Strengthening the muscles within the hand helps support a little one’s ability to print,” says Carla Garrett, a kindergarten teacher in Penticton, BC. “Playdough, colouring, cutting with scissors and using tweezers to pinch cotton balls assist hand strength.”
4. Teach germ management “Please teach your kids how to blow their noses themselves,” says Sharon Baker, a teacher in Cole Harbour, NS. “This may sound silly, but I’ve had children over the years who don’t know how to!” Also, remind kids to cough and sneeze into their elbows, and to keep their (sometimes grimy) hands to themselves.
5. Keep the lines of communication open “Don’t be afraid to contact us if you have questions or concerns, but try to do so via note, email or phone call, or make an appointment,” says Baker. “We want to talk to parents, but we’re often very busy immediately before and after school, so we don’t always have time for an impromptu meeting.”
6. Help out “Research has proven that students whose parents are actively involved in their child’s education achieve significantly higher grades and have a more positive attitude toward learning,” Costello says. Volunteer in the classroom if you can, and take part in your child’s learning by practising numbers and letters at home.
7. Trust in the teacher Addyson’s teacher, Mrs. E, called herself the kids’ “school mommy.” Realize that teachers care about the kids in their classrooms, and want the same things for them that we do—to learn, thrive and flourish academically and socially. Know that your tot’s teacher feels the same way.