Friday, August 14, 2015

EDITORIAL >> Schools set to reopen

It’s back-to-school time!

But it’s more than just new clothes, notebook paper and a pack of pencils.

It’s about parents doing what is necessary to ensure their child gets the most out of the school year. An old philosopher once said children will not remember you for the material things you provided them, but for the feeling that you cherished them.

So you can cherish your child by keeping up with their education from the start of the school year.

First and foremost, this year is not last year.

Whether your child had a great year of learning or a horrible year last year, head into this school year knowing that it will be different. Make sure your child knows it will be different. Don’t carry over any negative attitudes. Everyone needs to look at the year with fresh and excited eyes.

Get to know the teachers, principals and other staff members.

For teachers, nothing is more disconcerting than a parent walking into the school in the middle of the year and not knowing the name of their child’s teacher. Get to know the teachers, whether it’s one or two like in kindergarten or seven or eight like middle school. Take the time to get to know the teachers, as they are your best allies and your best resources when it comes to making sure your child blooms in school. Your child’s success is possibly more important to them than to you.

And, parents, it’s the little things that will go a long way.

Greet every teacher with a smile and a handshake and let them know that you will do everything you can to make it a great year.

Communication is key.

Yes, that’s your child, but 99 percent of the time that wild story you are being told about what happened in school isn’t so. Teachers, as a rule, don’t lie. It serves them no purpose. If something sounds fishy or there are gaps missing in what your child is telling you, contact the teacher.

Set a positive tone (again, remember, it’s a brand new year) with teachers and administrators that education is important and you don’t mind if they call you when a problem or concern comes up and that you will do your best to handle it. Feel free to ask school staff for advice or assistance. They have probably seen it all.

School supplies are important. There always seems to be plenty at the beginning of the school year, but make sure Santa and the Easter Bunny bring additional supplies. Plus, school supplies should be a part of every birthday-present pile.

Above all, be there every night, if at all possible, to read with your child, to share in the happenings of the school day, to have your child “teach” you what they have learned and, in that way, they are locking in that knowledge.

Nelson Mandela said it best, “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that a son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, and that a child of farm workers can become the president of a nation.”