Happy group of girls studyingRich Moore, superintendent, Oneida School District 351

Home is the first and most critical learning environment. Research shows that home environments are critical in the development of emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual well-being. It lays the foundation for your child’s self-esteem, efficacy and healthy attitudes.

Because this is an extraordinary task, parents should seek out resources and partners that will assist in the healthy development of their child. School is a critical partnership that parents connect with to assist in the development of healthy, well-rounded children.

As children begin a formal education, schools can play a significant role in supporting that healthy development. In this partnership, schools can enhance a child’s socio-emotional, cognitive and academic status. A critical first step in building a school partnership is having an effective relationship with the teacher. This relationship must have a foundation built on mutual respect, effective communication and common goals. This partnership can be developed through participation in back-to-school nights, frequent monitoring of online grades, attendance at parent-teacher conferences, being connected to your local PTO and establishing an acceptable two-way communication protocol.

When parents and teachers work together, the child is the winner. Both parent and teacher can provide unique insights and information about the child. Teachers have formal training with curriculum and how material may best be presented, while parents have insights on personality tendencies. These different perspectives will give a more complete picture of the child’s strengths and challenges.

Another critical element for having an effective home – school partnership is for the home to provide an environment that is supportive of learning. A daily routine that accommodates study opportunities is important for a child to develop good study habits. A structured time and place where electronics are turned off and homework is done is most effective in supporting that routine. This routine should be followed even when a child might not have any homework. They should always have something they can read. As a parent it is good to know what material is being covered so parents can support their child’s learning at home.

Finally, a parent seldom has time to sit side-by-side during homework time. Usually homework is designed to be a review and practice of learned material and not initiation of new concepts. However, there are times when questions arise. Your teacher can provide a list of free online tutoring resources that will give excellent support.

Malad Elementary principal, Robert Hannah, says, “Children learn best with plenty of support. When parents, teachers and other family members work together to encourage and support children great things happen.”

Robert said parents should feel welcome as full partners in the educational process. “We believe the experiences children have, both in and out of school, help shape their sense that someone cares about them. The feelings of self-worth and competency, their understanding of the world around them, and even their behavior is strengthened in a positive way with this supportive approach between school and home.”

For parents and teachers alike, the goal is to play active roles in your child’s life and to work toward forming a positive relationship. The child’s best interest is always served when many people are involved in their success. A strong home-school connection will help a child love to learn.