A couple of weeks ago I asked some of my teacher friends what advice they would give parents* [* parents include everyone who values children and has a role in their lives. This would include grandparents, babysitters, caregivers, guardians and teachers]. The responses from my friends blew me away. I am never surprised by kindness, I work with children and at a school so I experience love and kindness daily. Rather I am just very grateful that I know passionate human beings who believe children are important and are willing to share their knowledge freely. I know they know, their advice could have a positive impact on a child somewhere in the world.
This blog post contains a selection of short and longer pieces of advice they are little treasures! Read them, reflect, see what you can use in your life and what you can share with others who also need or want to know more about raising this precious, next generation! Enjoy!!!
💛A big thank you to Xolisa Guzula, Michele De Lange, Suzette Embalo, Christina Jacobs, Karen Quail, Jessica Spires, Helen Muirhead and Anneke van Dijken for your brilliant contributions. My own children and the children I work with are going to benefit from your kindness and willingness to share, as well as all the people who read this blog!💛
🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾🌾READ, TELL STORIES, SING SONGS AND RHYMES
By: Xolisa Guzula, literacy specialist and PhD student, Cape Town, South Africa
Learning begins at home. School should be continuation and extension
of home teachings. Therefore, parents have a bigger role in nurturing
their children’s early learning by reading, telling stories, singing
songs and rhymes to and with their children when they are still babies
and continuing when they attend school. It is equally important to
continue reading to your teenagers as it is to your babies.
Parents are their children’s first love and comfort when all else
seems overwhelming. It is important not to break your children’s
confidence further especially when they seem to have some jdifficulties
with learning. Exercising a bit of patience, understanding and faith
in your children can go a long way in in instilling positive attitude
about school and learning. 😃
KEEP THINGS SIMPLE
By: Michele de Lange, teacher, Cape Town, South Africa
Keep things simple…finding the best way your child learns is super helpful. Most children and adults learn much faster when a game is played related to the topic. So don’t forget to play games,playing car cricket while driving and having a rule that all red cars are 4 and blue cars 6, adding subtracting or even multiple,use simple day to day experiences to teach your child things everyday. Be curious about how they think and teach them to problem-solve. You aren’t going to be around them every moment to protect them do teach them how to think of solutions and teach them how to be kind😃.
TRUST YOUR PARENTAL INSTINCT
By : Suzette Embalo, teacher, Cape Town, South Africa
As a parent listen to the teacher if he/she expresses a concern about
your child’s progress / learning but always remember to listen to your
parental instinct too. I know it’s a hard one because not all parents
are teachers like me and I know that my children’s teachers have their
best interests at heart. Children have to have fun learning especially
if they are struggling with something. Playing a game with sight words
is what I’m doing with my youngest daughter at the moment because she can sound out the letters and put them together and figure out what the word is BUT the exceptions….meaning the irregular words eg. was, said etc. are messing her about. We made a pairs of these “TRICKY’ words and played snap/ guess the word/ how many words can I read in a certain amount of time etc. It is my job as hmer parent not to stress her out about what we as adults perceive to be a difficulty and to maintain the fun of learning. I remember it took my eldest daughter a while to learn to read as well. When she looks up at me when confronted with these tricky words I must not let my stress overcomeme and remember she will get there. Lots and lots of praise when she goes to the library and we read books together.😃
BE PATIENT WITH YOUR CHILDREN…
By: Christina Jacobs, Guest English Teacher, Sambo and Jangyeon Elementary Schools, South Korea
I have not been a teacher for very long, but the one thing that I have learnt is that all children learn at different speeds and in very different ways and my suggestion to parents would be to be patient with their children and to also try to understand how their own child learns in order to help them achieve to the best of their ability. It is not always the easiest thing to try to understand, because even parents were students (and some are infact still scholars in various ways) and the way in which one has learned affects the expectations one might have of their children (please also be aware that in some ways I speak with an assumption that I make based on my interactions with children, as I myself am not yet a parent, but becoming a teacher has taught me to become aware of the very true fact that we all learn differently). Also, understanding the way in which your child learns does not mean that they will learn more at a faster pace, I think it means that you will be able to help the learning that your child does in your presence be most beneficial for your child. 😃
PARENT -TEACHER RELATIONSHIP IS KEY…
By:Karen: ex school counsellor, Cape Town, South Africa
Keep a good relationship with your child’s teacher. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and keep in touch. If you and the teacher are a team (rather than a bit suspicious of each other) it’s better for your child. 😃
KAHLIL GIBRAN, THE PROPHET- CHILDREN
Submitted by Gwendolyn Elmore former principal, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
“And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”
I read this selection when my children were very young, and I tried to incorporate the concepts in my childrearing at home and as a parent when they were in the formative stages of their education. I hope this provides some wisdom for parents as they try to provide the support, encouragement, exposure and resources that are needed to enhance the God-given talents of their children; but also free them to become who they must be. 😃
DEVELOP A LOVE FOR READING
By: Jessica Spires,teacher, Cape Town, South Africa
Don’t stress your kids out about school work. Especially reading! It is so important to nurture a love for books and reading. If that means comics or sponge bob books then so be it. Once they have a love for books all the other language skills will follow, without feelings of stress or failing.
Also please do not stress out about your child’s handwriting! In the great scheme of life the things you should focus on are how your child feels about her/himself and how they interact with those around them. Because succeeding in life is about succeeding in relationships.😃
TEACH THEM KINDNESS, EMPATHY AND PATIENCE
By: Helen Solomon, teacher, Cape Town, South Africa
Love them. Be involved. Talk to them. Spend 5 minutes (at least) a day reading a story with them before bed (you can read a page, they can read a page). Ask them questions about what they have read. Eat dinner around the table and talk (promotes language skills). Limit screen time to an hour a day max!
Let them play…outside preferably (Gross Motor). Buy them a ball. Let them be kids as long as possible while teaching them at the same time to be independent. Give them chores. Stimulate them. Play with them. Joke with them. Cry with them. Comfort them. Give them the skills to solve problems and think for themselves by not doing everything for them but by facilitating them and giving them the tools to be able to do it for themselves. Take them on outings (doesn’t have to cost anything) Tell them where you going when going somewhere with them. Correct their grammar.
Teach them manners and respect. Teach them kindness, empathy and patience. Teach them the importance of listening. Teach the value of education. Teach them positivity. Have a corner or cupboard in your house which contain activities like painting, colouring in, paper tearing, beading puzzles, little science projects, not only does it help with fine motor and perceptual skills but keeps them occupied and away from the T.V. Ensure that they are in bed at a decent time. Monitor the T.V. programmes they watch and computer games they play.
Check for wax build up in ears and for lice regularly. If you don’t have time for homework-make a plan they can do it while you are cooking and teach them ways to do it on their way so you can just check. Join the library and take them there, its free!
Have a routine for them to follow, it will become habit.
Recycle. Take them into nature-make an appreciation for Earth.
Teach them to work with money.
Involve them in what you are doing, e.g. fetch 8 potatoes, pour a cup of milk. Cut the sandwich in half. (Mathematics, vocab), woodwork with dad, working in garden
Encourage them to be active. Enrol them in a club (cubs, guides, soccer etc)
Teach them self-discipline. Show them the right way to solve conflict if they have done it incorrectly and let them practise it. (Karen Quail 😉 (love her work)
If your child has to repeat, don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed, sometimes they just need a bit more time and often it is one of the best things that can happen to them.
Remember you are the adult. You had them make time for them and love them. What you put in is, what you get out.😃
MAKE TIME TO READ TO YOUR CHILDREN
By: Anneke van Dijken, teacher, Cape Town, South Africa
Whilst in the U S A recently, I did some research into the way educators there deal with reluctant readers. I came into contact with
Ari Fertel who has devised a Reading Programme for reluctant readers entitled Reading Buddy.
In a nutshell, she believes that “a struggling reader HAS to read every day with a supportive and non-judgemental listener who makes time to model fluent reading to the child.” She also suggests that reading age appropriate poetry (in small doses to begin with!) helps improve fluency and comprehension.
My own experience in this field has proved to me over and over again that parents should not underestimate the value of making time to read to and with their children on a daily basis. The best way to encourage your child to read is to show him/her the joy which you derive from reading. Children love to emulate their parents.😃