Advice from Expert Educators
5 lessons for teachers, parents of young learnersBy FamilyFeatures.com
Each school year offers exciting opportunities for little learners to discover and explore new topics and master new skills. These tips from award-winning educators at KinderCare can help parents as well as teachers. You can find additional resources for helping young children succeed at kindercare.com.
1 Communication is key
Making time to connect gives parents and teachers opportunities to build important bonds. Communicating with the teacher about habits and any unique needs of a child can help a teacher better understand him or her. Also, teachers can provide families with a sense of reassurance their children are being recognized and cared for as the unique people they are by regularly sharing stories and observations about a child’s progress.
2 Never give up on a child
Each child faces unique hurdles as he or she climbs the educational ladder, with some facing more challenges than others. Parents can become openly disappointed, puzzled or stressed. For teachers, it can be frustrating to tailor lesson plans to meet each child’s individual needs. However, Joan Coberg, a teacher of 40 years, recommends one very important trait: patience. As Joan puts it, never give up a on child, be respectful, and always lead with love and kindness.
3 Be willing to change
Consistency and structure are important for establishing routines, but it’s also helpful to have an open mind and to stop an activity when children lose interest. Be observant, flexible, and willing to rethink schedules and activities.
4 Let children choose their paths
School days often include activity time when students can explore interests like art, science and music. When it’s time for activities, try letting children choose what they’d like to do first. This can also help foster independence while easing transitions, according to Hattie Mae Covington, a toddler teacher of 45 years. It also opens the door for parents and teachers to cheer on their students for succeeding in activities of their choosing.
5 Recognize accomplishments
“Kids, especially young children, love to be recognized and rewarded for doing good work,” Hattie Mae says. “High fives and smiley face stickers go a long way toward encouraging them and helping them be successful. Celebrating students for their accomplishments can be a meaningful way to create bonds that support their ongoing interest in learning,” she adds.
Other ways parents can celebrate their children’s successes include displaying artwork, ribbons and medals in a rotating display in plastic frames, a corkboard or the family’s refrigerator, and allowing their children to pick a favorite meal or side dish for dinnertime or take them for a special treat, such as frozen yogurt.
Need more than advice?For more than 25 years, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have helped light up learning in K-12 classrooms statewide through the Bright Ideas education grant program. Tar Heel teachers with innovative ideas for creative learning projects can submit an online application from April through September of each year.
Other ways to help kids