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Middle Childhood » Communication

Parenting and Teachers: Teach Your Children Well Series

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Parents are seen as the most primary and important teachers.  Let me introduce you to a prominent educator who will give you her view on how important it is for parents to be engaged in these kinds of activities with their children and the importance of the educational process and the future academic success of their children.

One Teacher says:

We’ve learned in education that children are learning from their parents all the time.  These children learn how to meet and to interact with the world.  They learn a lot by imitating the way their parents interact with their own surroundings.  And we want parents to be involved with the intellectual life of their children, not just the skill life, not just the learning how to pound a nail, or cut something with scissors, or to write with a pencil.  But learning how they think, how they create ideas and how they express their ideas.”

“I like parents to tell me what they want for their children and not be what we believe the parents need or want.  We take surveys, which is a series of questions and ask them what it is you like for your children.  What it is you want as a parent and how best can we make you feel a part of the school?”

“Our agency has used a family approach for the last 10 years.  It’s really the only practical way to work with children and to work with family members.  Parents, siblings, grandparents, those are the people who know the child best.  And certainly our staff, our therapists, and our social workers have a lot of professional expertise, volumes and volumes of information.  And our job is to meet the child, meet the parents and the family members and take our knowledge and apply it to the situation so that the family can have all the information they need to make the best decisions for their children.  They are the ones that have to live with those decisions.  They are the ones that know what decisions and activities and values fit with their family.”

“Parents and teachers together, I think, should come up with a plan on what direction they want.  What the goal is.”

Professionals, Teachers and Administrators value parent’s role in the education process.

It is the job of the moms and dads to go into the school and look over the academic program.  Parents should think about and tell teachers what they feel is best for their children.  Parents should take the leadership role in their children’s education. When working together parents and teachers make wonderful partners.

Parents need to:

  1. Be teachers too.
  2. Work with teachers in the schools
  3. Teach values
  4. Teach culture
  5. Teach ethics
  6. Teach academics


One Mother says:

“Teachers and parents work hand in hand.  I don’t expect the teachers to teach my children morals.  But I do expect them to teach them the academics that I cannot teach them and I think together we can build good members of community together.  The teachers can’t do it without the parents and the parents can’t do it without the teachers.  We need to do it together.”

Another Father says:

“We wholeheartedly approve of the teachers teaching the kids technology, all of the 3 R’s, History, Geography all the basic categories like that.  And we want them to challenge them, we try to push for that, definitely as far as they can take them.  They will call us up and ask is it OK if we do this with the kids?  It’s like fine push them as far as you can unless you see it having an ill effect on them.”

A Parent of a Child with Disabiliaties says:

“Parents of children with disabilities are no different.  They want advice from experts and they need professionals in their life.  We’ve been real fortunate in that have had a teacher that never hesitates to pick up the phone at the end of the school day and said this happened today if it happens tomorrow can I do this?  Or what do you think?  Or at the same time she would call and say Adam had a particularly well day.  And she would say “You’ll never guess what Adam did today.”  And I would say you are really pumped up about this you are calling me at home.  And she said “I am I am” and fifteen minutes later she was still going on about it.”

“I told the teachers I want you to push the academics.  It is going to be at a slower rate and I realize that but I don’t want her learning just little functional things in life.  I am not so worried about her putting on her socks perfectly or buttoning perfectly.  I know that is all going to come in time.  I want them to work on academics and knowing her letters and learning how to write her name better and learning some words.”

One Parent says:

“Every family is different, I want my child to be able to grow up and live in my family.  And with that you need to have the parents input.  You have the focus of that family.  Families need to sit down and think so many times we are just so busy that we live day to day and maybe we plan ahead for a vacation or something but people spend more time about what they are going to do on vacation then they think about what their child needs for their education.  They need to be in charge of what is going to happen to their child and pay attention to it every year and not just when the report cards come home.”

Spaces need to be created.

Even when parents and teachers work closely as a team and even when schools are attractive and have interesting books and materials there is another element to education that matters to both teachers and parents.  It is the effect of the setting on child behavior.  Spaces are created they don’t just happen.  Because different areas have different purposes all to promote good behavior so children can learn. There needs to be small spaces that encourage privacy.  Airy plant filled outdoorsy places and larger spaces that encourage socialization and cooperation and release from tension.  Playgrounds and activity rooms are good examples of these.  Every classroom, every setting needs pathways even a root that children need to learn to travel from one activity to another.  All these planned spaces signal children to behave in each setting, thus reducing the need for discipline and reducing interruptions in the learning process.

Moms and dads can learn a great deal from observing what an effective classroom looks like.  Parents should think of their own home as a classroom for learning.  So play on the floor with your children where they can move around freely and talk to each other. Use tables to play games and to do homework.  This arrangement gives children time to work out their problems and if they can’t cooperate ask them to ask you for help.  Computers are good home teachers because they let children learn on their own, but they are still no substitute for teaching your children and taking the time to be with them.

Books to recommend

These are some of the books I share with parents when they ask me to provide helpful hints and tips for them in working with common behavioral problems and discipline and dilemmas that they face everyday.  And they are great books.  Here is the list of useful books:

 “Know your child” by Chelsa Thomas. 

 “The Competent Infant.” 

 “The art of feeding children well,”

 “Practical tips for parents.”

Some Parental Quotes:

“I don’t want the school system to teach my children everything they need to know, that comes from home first and it carries over into the schools.  If the lessons they learn at home are taught well enough then when they are in school it will be easier for teachers to teach them because they won’t worry about teaching them the basics, things children should’ve learned at home.  How to behave and how to respect teachers and how to respect elders and just how to be nice to people and how to be helpful to someone.”

Ask Dr. Susan