A Message from the Head of Middle Years

9 June 2017

As the semester comes to a close, it is time to reflect on the things we have achieved and where we could have improved. This week in Middle Years Assembly, I spoke to the girls about how those who work hard are usually contented and satisfied with the way they have lived their life because they know they have done their best. Educating a child is a team effort but ultimately, it is their future, and they must take responsibility for their own learning. Teachers and parents are there to provide the support they need to embark on their learning journey. The article (linked here), Ten Ways for Parents to Help Teachers Help Their Children Learn, provides some good advice to enhance the partnership between parents and teachers to support a child's learning.

Ten Ways for Parents to Help Teachers Help Their Children Learn

  1. Create a smooth take off each day. Get organised the night before. Give your children a hug before they leave the house, and you head to work. Tell them how proud you are of them. Your children's self-confidence and sense of security will help them do well both in school and in life. A positive, happy start is the best foundation for the day at school.
  2. Prepare for a happy reunion at the end of the day. Create predictable rituals such as 10–20 minutes listening to your children talk about their day over an after-school snack—before you check phone messages, read the mail, or begin dinner. This is truly quality time when your children know your attention is focused on them, and they can count on you every day after school.
  3. Fill your child's lunchbox with healthy snacks and lunches. Have dinner as a family, preferably round the table, at a reasonable hour. In the morning provide a healthy breakfast with whole grains, protein and fruit. A well-balanced diet maximises your children's learning potential and helps them stay alert throughout the school day.
  4. Include peaceful times in your children's afternoons and evenings. Maintain a schedule of regular bedtimes, device free at least half an hour prior to bed time, that allows them to go to school rested. Children need plenty of sleep for healthy physical and mental development and success at school.
  5. Remember it's your children's homework, not yours. Create a homework space that's clutter-free and quiet. Encourage editing and double-checking work, but allow your children to make mistakes, as it's the way teachers can gauge if they understand the material. It's also how children learn responsibility for the quality of their work.
  6. Fill your children's lives with a love for learning by showing them your own curiosity, respecting their questions, and encouraging their efforts.
  7. Fill your home with books to read, books simply to look at, and books that provide answers to life's many questions. Public libraries are an excellent resource and can become a habit from a very early age.
  8. Be a partner with your child's teacher. When you need to speak to the teacher in reference to a specific issue with your child, do it privately, not in front of your child. Never criticise your child's teacher in front of your child. Keep adult disagreements among the adults concerned.
  9. Set up a system where routine items are easily located—such as backpacks, shoes, signed notices. Create a central calendar for upcoming events to make sure everyone is prepared.
  10. Become involved in school activities. This could be helping with a sports team, joining the P & F or helping out at an event. Teachers appreciate the practical support of parents  - and children whose parents are involved do better at school.

Mrs Jo Matherson
Head of Middle Years

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