Learning how to help

Ask The Experts

November 11, 1998

Nov. 16-20 is American Education Week and an opportunity for parents to experience firsthand what their children are doing during their school day. Many schools invite parents to visit during this week. Susan Rapp, director of the Columbia West Kumon Center, offers this advice on what to look for when observing your child's class.

* Ask the principal or the school media specialist for description of what the children are expected to learn at your child's grade level.

* Plan to attend with a positive attitude. If there is a chance tmake a comment while you are there, use the opportunity to tell the teacher you appreciate what she is doing or what your child likes about the class.

* Take a pencil and paper to make notes on assignments, skillchecklists or other objectives listed around the school.

* Look at a variety of work samples displayed around the schooso you can see what is considered satisfactory, good or excellent.

* Look for goals and expectations written on the chalk board obulletin board to learn what your child is currently studying and what he is expected to do.

* If you are given your child's work folder, ask if you can write positive comment on her work. She will delight in receiving an encouraging note from you and this shows how interested you are in her education.

* Visit the art, music and physical education classes to see hoyou can foster your child's talents in these areas.

* Pick up school calendars, newsletters and school policies thayour child may have forgotten to bring home.

* Notice what subjects excite your child and what topics o activities he avoids.

* Where does she sit? Can she see the board? Hear thdiscussion? Does she have the right school supplies? Is she distracted?

* Look for children working together or in groups and observthe ways your child works here and independently.

* Make notes of the ways in which you can help your child ahome or ways in which you can volunteer at school.

* The day after your visit, write a thank-you note to the teacheand state how you would like to help.

* Finally, discuss what you saw and did with your child, expresyour enthusiasm for his school and for his education.

Pub Date: 11/11/98

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