Working with Your Child's Kindergarten Teacher
By Annye Rothenberg, Ph.D.
In the early fall, schools hold back-to-school night, and later in the
fall, you get feedback at your parent-teacher conference. It's
best to establish a partnership with the teacher so our child feels
that both his teacher and his parents know what's going on in his world.
Keep the teacher informed about any stresses at home such as parents
traveling, sickness, death of someone close, etc. Find out the best way
to communicate with the teacher. Many prefer e-mail.
It's common for teachers to
notice areas where our children need some additional help. These could
be academic or behavioral. They may ask us to work with our children in
these areas (such as learning to raise his hand before he talks or
learning more alphabet letters). Occasionally teachers
may feel that despite all your efforts, and theirs, more help is
needed, and may suggest a learning or behavior evaluation. Public
schools can usually provide these assessments at no cost to us (and
private schools can recommend an evaluation specialist). Your child's
pediatrician can also recommend a specialist.
When a teacher feels our
child has a noticeable problem, we can easily get defensive at what
sounds like criticism. We may strongly disagree, blame her for the
problems, and even want to change teachers or schools. Try very hard
not to go down that road. Consider the teacher's recommendations
seriously, understanding that she wants your child – as you do – to
have a successful year. Ask
enough questions so that you know exactly what the problems are and
when they occur. Have you observed what the teacher is talking about? Arrange
an initial conversation with the appropriate specialist to determine if
you want to proceed. Remember, help is more effective when it starts
sooner rather than later. Finally, do not criticize your child's
teacher in any way that your child will overhear. It is nearly
impossible for your child to learn from a teacher you don't respect,
and it will make being at school a negative or at least an ambivalent
experience for him. We shouldn't do that to our kids.
Excerpted from I'm Getting Ready For Kindergarten
Annye Rothenberg, Ph.D., author, has been a child/parent
psychologist and a specialist in childrearing and child development for more than 25 years. Her parenting psychology practice is
in Emerald Hills, California. She is also on the adjunct faculty in
pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Rothenberg
was the founder/director of the Child Rearing parenting program in Palo
Alto, California, and is the author of the award-winning books Mommy and Daddy are Always Supposed to Say Yes … Aren’t They?, Why Do I Have To?, I Like To Eat Treats, I Don't Want to Go to the Toilet, I Want To Make Friends and I'm Getting Ready For Kindergarten. These are all-in-one books with a story for preschoolers and a manual
for parents. Her new series is for elementary school childen and their parents. The first book is Why Can't I Be the Boss of Me? (2015). For more information about her books and to read her
articles, visit www.PerfectingParentingPress.com. To find out about her counseling practice and her speaker presentations, go to AnnyeRothenberg.com.