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Becoming a school parent can be one of THE biggest changes in your parenting life. It can feel like a big deal! Not only do you hand your child over to someone possibly for the first time Monday to Friday but it is no longer day care. The class teacher is there to help them develop academically and socially as well as care for their physical and emotional wellbeing.

The aim is to work in partnership with the teacher to help foster your child’s growth and development.

Here are 7 ways you can build a positive relationship …

1. Trust the teacher’s judgement based on their studies and experience. 2. Communicate with them. Let them know issues that may be affecting your child’s behaviour or concentration.

3. Listen to them. Allow the teacher to share how they perceive your child. Remember that you don’t know how your child responds to the group of children that they are with during school hours. School is a different setting to home or pre school with much higher expectations.

4. Learn from them. When additional work is sent home to complete, do your best to help your child with it. Ask for help whether it be with understanding a concept or for recommendations on what to read to learn more. Attend information sessions that the school may hold or recommend. If you can’t make it, ask for handouts.

6. Help out in the classroom if possible. It is of great benefit to be able to observe the classroom dynamics. Most children love seeing their parent show an interest in what they are doing. You being there should also assist with the learning process in the classroom. Having been a parent helper in the classroom, I consider it a huge privilege :) 7. Thank the teacher if they are doing a great job. There is something lovely about a flower from the garden or a note from a parent saying thank you. It makes a big difference when you feel appreciated!

Don’t ever criticise a teacher within hearing of your child. It is important to model respect. (If you do have serious concerns about the teacher raise them with the Deputy or Principal).

The majority of teachers work hard to ensure that their classroom is a positive learning environment for their students. Work with them and your child will be so much happier for it :) This was first written for Kidspot as part of their Buddies Bright Ideas series in 2011

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