It’s time for school again, but do you have the answers you need to let your children start school? Here are the top questions to ask before your child starts school.
by Andrea Smith |Andrea Smith is a mother of two living in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. She is an avid blogger on her site The Write Gurl, and finds joy in knitting and drinking wine. Follow Andrea on Twitter @JeopardyQueen.
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The school year is upon us and that means its time for your kids to head back. But if you have little ones just starting or you’ve moved to a new school district, then you may have some questions, and may be unsure where to even start.
Wherever you live, there are going to be schools you need to look at, and decide which one is most suitable for your child. Whether you want to look at charter schools in jacksonville fl or schools in New York, you need to think about these questions before you make a decision.
But rather than asking friends for what could be wrong answers, you should be talking to the school’s representatives. So, what questions should you ask?
Here are the top questions to ask teachers before your child returns to school!
#1 What is the best way to contact you?
This question may depend on your child’s grade level. The younger the child, the more likely you will want countless ways to contact your child’s teacher and school. Most teachers will offer you at minimum, an email address to directly reach them. You can also always call the school to speak to them. Some of the more tech savvy teachers will also give you their social media handles to reach them there.
#2 What is your policy on tutoring or after school help?
Every child learns differently and at different paces. This means that some children will naturally fall behind while others advance faster. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, but that doesn’t mean that as a parent you won’t feel concerned. Ask your child’s teacher what their policy is to request extra help after school or how to request tutoring. This is important in each grade, even in pre-kindergarten, as it will help your child be better prepared for the following school year.
#3 What is not on your supply list that you wish parents would provide?
Every school district suffers from budget cuts. This can eat into the supplies that a teacher needs in the classroom, and in turn, affects your child’s ability to learn. While every year teachers provide parents with supply lists, these are general lists for items that the whole class will need throughout the year. It could prove to be a helpful gesture to ask your child’s teacher if there’s anything extra they need, but didn’t get to put into their supply list.
#4 What safety measures are in place for emergencies?
Whether it’s a mass school shooting, a fire, a flood, a bomb threat, or a pandemic, schools all across the country have had to adapt to these trying times. With that said, it is a good idea to ask the school administration what emergency guidelines they have in place for children if an emergency did happen. It is also a good idea to go to your local board of education meetings to ask more questions on these guidelines, if you feel they aren’t up to the current standards of safety.
#5 How do I help my child with technology at home?
Technology is here to stay and children are increasingly becoming masters of it. That means that as parents, we need to do the same. A good question to ask your child’s teachers is what technology you need at home to ensure your student has a smooth transition from school to home for homework assignments. Secondly, it would be a good idea if you asked your child’s teacher if there are any particular websites that you should become relatively good with. This will help your children stay on a positive academic path.
#6 What are the disciplinary methods and reporting used?
This may also depend on a child’s grade, however, each grade most likely has some type of disciplinary method and reporting system in place. You’ll need to ask what these are specific to your child’s grade. Additionally, it would be a good idea to ask the school administration about what disciplinary reports follow your child all through high school and which do not.
#7 How do you handle emotional struggles or aggressive behavior?
It’s possible there are things going on at home or during the previous school year that could decrease your child’s engagement in class. This includes death, divorce, depression, economic struggles, bullying, identity, and perhaps, learning disabilities. If you suspect your child is going through any of the above or something else, let your child’s guidance counselor and teacher know. This can help the school better support your child through their struggles. If it’s a more severe issue than they can handle, they’ll let you know to seek extra help. They can provide you with additional support features such as names and contact information for resources.
Since teachers spend a great deal of time with your child, it is important to also ask your teacher what their classroom rules are in regards to this. Find out how they handle any emotional or aggressive behaviors due to stressors from the home or school, as these behaviors and possible remedies could affect your child’s permanent record in school.
#8 How do you handle children becoming physical with one another?
This is another important question to ask your child’s teacher. Many children, especially in the younger ages, are still learning that it’s not okay to hit others. And while for some children this can be an easier lesson than for others, it is still something to consider as your child could become the victim of another child’s outburst.
Some schools will ignore when a young child kicks or hits another child, and other schools will take it more seriously. So, it is up to you question the school’s policy on this matter. After all, you wouldn’t want your child coming home with a bruised chest from another child kicking them, only to find out that nothing was done. If the school’s policy is more laid back, such as refusing to talk to the parent of the child who did the hitting, then it is your job to go to a board of education meeting to get this matter reviewed and the policy reviewed.
School may be here again, but you don’t have to feel as if you have no control over your child’s educational environment. Your local board of education has monthly meetings that go over policies, policy updates, and even incidences within the school. You need to remember that as a taxpayer, you have rights, and some of those rights include questioning whether the school policies are in need of updates or changes.
Remember, the goal of asking questions is to have transparency between the school and parents. Asking the best questions can result in a more positive learning experience for every child.