School is almost out and that means parents will soon be receiving their child's final report card of the school year. Understandably, parents can get a little apprehensive when report card time rolls around. Here are some tips from Fairmont's early childhood experts to help you make the most of your child's report card.
A+ for effort--“Parents should praise the effort not just the outcome. Children need to know that working hard and giving their best effort is more important than making the equivalent of straight A’s,” says Kelly Robinette, Fairmont’s Senior Education Coordinator. “At this age parents need to reinforce the idea that working hard and practicing a skill is key to success; otherwise, children can be tempted to throw in the towel when learning doesn’t come easy.”
Avoid comparing your child to others--Since a child’s early years are so developmental in nature, it is important that you try to avoid comparing your child with other kids in the class, and keep in mind that each child is unique and will master skills in his or her own time. Instead of comparing, celebrate your child’s achievement and focus on the areas where you know he or she worked extra hard.
When to intervene--If your child is “below expectation” or “approaching expectation” in a certain skill at the end of the school year, check with your child’s teacher to see what you can do at home to help your child improve. Even if your child has aced certain areas, there’s nothing wrong with reinforcing key skills over the summer so that he or she starts the new school year strong.
Simple ways parents can support learning
Language Arts--While at the grocery store, have children read as much as they can--the products listed on each aisle, the labels on canned goods, etc. They can do a letter or word hunt while you shop. Have them search for and count as many letter “A’s” as they can...and so forth.
Math--Count the forks and spoons as you empty the dishwasher. Work on writing numbers that are important to your child like their age, birthday or address. Dominos, dice, and playing cards are all great tools for teaching young children about math.
Handwriting/Penmanship--Any activity to strengthen fine motor skills helps with handwriting. Try having your child cut a variety of materials including paper, cardboard and playdough. Playdough is a great tool for strengthening little hands and fingers in preparation for proper pencil grip and penmanship. Encourage little ones to trace out letters with their index finger in shaving cream or sand, or mold letters with clay or “moon sand,” which you can find at stores like Target.
Science/Social Studies--Take advantage of summer by getting outside and experiencing nature. Go on nature hikes and scavenger hunts. Plant a garden. Visit local parks, the beach, and wonderful learning museums like the Discovery Science Center and the Aquarium of the Pacific. If you plan to travel with your family this summer, have your child chart your travels on a map and record memories in a journal.
Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools