ABOUT THE BOOK - EXCERPT FROM THE PARENTING GUIDANCE SECTION

I'm Getting Ready For Kindergarten

WORKING WITH YOUR CHILD'S KINDERGARTEN TEACHER

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.

Perfecting Parenting Press 2015