Our kids’ school success actually begins at home, and even the simplest steps can mean a big difference for your child’s future.
EDUCATION TRENDS PARENTS NEED TO KNOW
Education is changing, and California State PTA offers the top three education trends parents need to know:
- Family engagement is the key to student success – Decades of research proves family engagement is key to kids’ success in school, and in life. Parents’ engagement in children’s lives – reading together, monitoring homework, ensuring attendance, working with teachers, asking questions about your child’s day and joining PTA — impacts student success far more than parents’ income, education or ZIP code. Students with engaged families attend school regularly, perform better in school, earn higher grades, pass their classes, develop better social skills and go on to college and other educational opportunities.
- Healthy kids are better learners – There’s a critical link between health and student achievement. Families, teachers and researchers know that our kids can’t grow, learn and succeed when they’re not healthy. Parents can help ensure healthy children – and successful learners – by providing nutritious meals and health care, staying on top of health developments, and staying in touch with your local PTA for the latest information on health issues and programs at your children’s schools.
- Education changes strengthen parents’ voices – From a recently revised education-funding formula to updated standards for teaching, learning and assessment, California’s schools are undergoing historic changes. Understanding how the education system works and keeping up on changes increases the likelihood of parent and community involvement, which increases student success. PTA members are involved with decision-makers locally, in Sacramento and in Washington, D.C., as changes are proposed and developed. California State PTA has great education resources for parents and families such as the statewide School Smarts Parent Engagement Program, which graduated more than 2,300 parents in 2015 – 2016 alone.
TIPS FOR BACK-TO-SCHOOL SEASON
When is comes to the first day of school, kids – and parents – may be excited and a bit nervous. Here are a few tips to help calm the start-of-school jitters:
- Re-assure your child. Anxieties and concerns are normal. Many children will experience these feelings at the start of the school year. Encourage your children to talk openly with you and with teachers about concerns or worries they may have.
- Point out the positives. Starting a new school year can be fun. Your child will see old friends and meet new ones. The first week of school offers a chance to learn about new things and pursue interests. Reinforce the fun and excitement of learning with your child.
- Prepare ahead. Have your child pick out the clothes he or she plans to wear to school the next day. This will save time and stress in the morning. Encourage everyone in the house to go to bed early and get up 15 to 30 minutes earlier so they’re not rushing around in the morning. Allow enough time for a good breakfast, and make arrangements for your child’s lunch. During the first week of school, find out if any additional materials are requested (pencils, folders, etc.) Remember: Your school, local nonprofit groups and PTAs often can help with providing school supplies.
- Encourage safe traveling to and from school. Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your youngster can walk or bike to school, or ride with on the bus. Briefly review the basics of safe walking and biking. If you feel it is appropriate, drive your child (or walk with him) to school and pick him up on the first day.
- Plan for special needs. If your child requires medication, treatment or has special needs, talk to the school administrative staff, then talk to your child about how those needs will be handled at school (what time to go to the office for medication or what foods in the cafeteria to avoid, etc.).
- Prepare for emergency situations. What should your child do if you are late picking her up, or if no one is at the house when she arrives home? What should your child do if he feels picked on while at recess? Talking in advance with your child and having a plan will help minimize panic and stress.
Download, print and share this flier with your friends, PTA members and school community. (Available in English/Spanish double-sided.)
EASY & EFFECTIVE WAYS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
In fact, there are a hundred easy but effective ways you can help your child succeed, but here are just a few:
- Set up daily routines, including healthy eating and sleeping habits
- Provide a place and time for homework
- Check on homework assignments and projects
- Show your support and interest by talking about school activities each day
- Promote literacy by reading to your child and by reading yourself
- Limit all types of screen time: TV, gaming and computers
- Express high expectations, standards and encouragement for your child’s learning
- Attend parent-teacher conferences, open houses and back-to-school events
- Participate in decisions affecting your child’s education
- Take advantage of your community’s many free or low-cost activities and resources, such as libraries, museums, theaters and zoos
- Participate in after-school clubs, sports and art activities
- Join PTA.
And family involvement doesn’t end with grade school: Staying connected with your child’s education remains critical in the middle and high-school years, too!
HOMEWORK’S IMPORTANT FOR AT-SCHOOL SUCCESS
Homework isn’t a needless exercise: Reasonable, quality assignments expand on topics and skills taught in the classroom and — in the big picture — help develop lifelong learning habits. So keeping on top of homework assignments is truly key to student success. Download our flier on homework tips or check out our homework webpage for additional resources.
TIPS FROM TEACHERS: HOW TO SUPPORT LEARNING AT HOME
While parents and caregivers are kids’ primary teachers, professional educators dedicate themselves to our children’s school-age and future success. Just as teachers and families join forces to improve kids’ education, California State PTA and the California Teachers Association joined together to create seven tips to make the most of your child’s educational opportunities.
OUR CHILDREN ARE PART OF OUR COMMUNITIES
Kids are part of a home community, a school community – and our neighborhoods, state and nation. Issues impacting broader communities – like health or economic concerns – impact children of all ages where they live and learn as well. Find out how you can make a difference on these community issues to help our children and youth.