Helping Your Child Succeed in School

indexIf you think about it, although school is very important, it does not really take up very much of a child’s time. In the United States, the school year averages 180 days; in other nations, the school year can last up to 240 days and students are often in school more hours per day than American students. Clearly, the hours and days that a child is not in school are important for learning, too. Here are some things that you can do to help your child to make the most of that time:

Encourage Your Child to Read

Helping your child become a reader is the single most important thing that you can do to help the child to succeed in school—and in life. The importance of reading simply can’t be overstated. Reading helps children in all school subjects. More important, it is the key to lifelong learning. Here are some tips on how to help your child become a reader.

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Engaging parents in education

finland_education_getty_0What is Parent Engagement?

Parent engagement is being positively involved and active in your child’s learning. Your attitudes, values and behaviours can positively influence your child’s education outcomes.

We know that parents, families and carers are some of the most important influences on a child’s education. When you are positively engaged in your child’s education, they are more likely to attend and perform better at school.

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The Early Education Racket

imagesOne morning last September, my husband dragged himself out of bed at 5 a.m. and rode his bike to a nearby preschool. The moonlit block was empty but for the first seeds of a sleepy line forming outside the school’s doors—he was the sixth person to join it. By 8 a.m., the line stretched all the way down the block and disappeared around the corner. Eventually, my husband was invited inside, where he handed a stranger an application and a check for $50 and promptly left. So began our son’s preschool application process for the 2013/2014 academic year, 12 months in advance.

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Important Safeguards for You and Your Child

aAt a Glance

  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is designed to protect the rights of children with disabilities—and their parents’ rights.
  • If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), the school must get your consent before making any changes to the IEP.
  • There are a number of ways you can dispute the school’s changes.

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Teaching Health Education in School

yMany parents are keenly interested in the basic academic education of their youngsters—reading, writing, and arithmetic—but are not nearly as conscientious in finding out about the other learning that goes on in the classroom. A comprehensive health education pro­gram is an important part of the curriculum in most school districts. Starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school, it pro­vides an introduction to the human body and to factors that prevent illness and promote or damage health.

The middle years of childhood are extremely sensitive times for a number of health issues, especially when it comes to adopting health behavior that can have lifelong consequences. Your youngster might be exposed to a variety of health themes in school: nutrition, disease prevention, physical growth and development, reproduction, mental health, drug and alcohol abuse prevention, consumer health, and safety (cross­ing streets, riding bikes, first aid, the Heimlich maneuver). The goal of this ed­ucation is not only to increase your child’s health knowledge and to create positive attitudes toward his own well-being but also to promote healthy be­havior. By going beyond simply increasing knowledge, schools are asking for more involvement on the part of students than in many other subject areas. Children are being taught life skills, not merely academic skills.

It is easy to underestimate the importance of this health education for your child. Before long he will be approaching puberty and adolescence and facing many choices about his behavior that, if he chooses inappropriately, could im­pair his health and even lead to his death. These choices revolve around alco­hol, tobacco, and other drug use; sexual behavior (abstinence, prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases); driving; risk-taking behavior; and stress management. Most experts concur that education about issues like alcohol abuse is most effective if it begins at least two years before the behav­ior is likely to start. This means that children seven and eight years old are not too young to learn about the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs, and that sexuality education also needs to be part of the experience of elementary-school-age children. At the same time, positive health behavior can also be learned during the middle years of childhood. Your child’s well-being as an adult can be influenced by the lifelong exercise and nutrition habits that he adopts now.

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