As parents sending their children to school for the first time, there may be a lot of things you are worried about.
This is understandable, you would not want to entrust your child, your most precious bundle of joy, to just anyone. After all, these people in the centre or school are all strangers.
It does not have to be that way. Try to get to know the adults – educators, administrators and other carers in the centre or school as much as you can.
Aside from that, keep these in mind:
Educators are professionals
Your child’s educator may wear a prescribed uniform that looked like shirts, jeans and comfortable shoes but do not let it fool you into thinking that they are less capable. Just like doctors and lawyers, educators are professionals. Their clothes are such so they can are for your child better.
Just like other professionals caring for and teaching children would usually require years of training and continuous development to make sure that the educator’s skill and knowledge are up to date.
As much as you trust your GP and lawyers, trust educators with your kids. They know what they are doing in the classroom and they have your child’s best interest at heart. If they tell you something they observed about your child or gave you an advice, take it calmly (and constructively) just as you would normally act in a doctor or lawyers office.
In addition, like you would talk to a doctor about your symptoms, share with your child’s educator things that will help her get to know your child better like your child’s interests, her learning style and any learning need, your discipline style at home and even events at home that you think might affect your child’s behavior in class such as having a new baby at home or being pregnant, having a divorce or family set up, moving house etc.
Educators are partners
Educators are your partners in terms of your child’s whole development.
As early childhood professionals, their job is to make sure that your child grows up to be well rounded individuals who can lead productive and successful adult lives.
They see each child as an individual person but unlike parents, they look at each child a little more objectively and see the things that the child needs to improve on. So if your child’s educator suggests something you and your child can do at home to improve your child’s behaviour, for example, try it out first instead of acting defensive.
Refrain from looking at your child’s educator as your number 1 enemy or critic. Raising children is a hard job and your child’s educator knows of this. They are not trying to intrude your family life or how you parent your child to act all knowing, they are just acting out of goodwill and knowledge of the positive effects of home and school ties.
Research had shown multiple times of the positive link between home and school. Whatever things your child experiences in the classroom will not have enough impact in his/her life unless it is also being done at home. Example, your child can pack away toys by himself in school so why not let him/her pack away at home too?
Moreover, if you had a negative experience with your own educator when you were at school, leave that memory behind and remind yourself that this is about your child and not you. While we do have to be vigilant for our children, we should also have a bit more trust.
Educators have feelings
Sometimes, you may get caught up with so many things yu need to do in a day – your jobs or business may be demanding and stressful. The last thing you need is a little note from the educator or a comment/story from your child about the things that happened in school.
These little things may irk you and cause you to storm the school and hunt for the educator in question.
First, calm down.
Re-read the letter, if you are so stressed when you read the note, it is possible you were mistaken about the tone of the letter or you misinterpreted what it meant.
Ask your child again about the story, children may sometimes exaggerate events in the story. They are not lying but it is possible that there are some tall stories in it or that the child’s version is not the complete story.
If you really have an issue, set an appointment. Educators have a lot of work to do as well. It is not just babysitting several children. Setting an appointment also helps you calm down and collect your thoughts.
List the things you want to talk about and clarify before the meeting and wait until you are in the meeting room before you start anything. Yelling at your child’s educator in front of your child and other children is not setting a good example for the young ones.
In addition, keep in mind that your child’s educator is human too. It is not impossible for her to make a mistake or for her to feel tired and stressed like you. In the same way, it is possible to hurt her feelings especially if you throw harsh words of accusations without investigating first. So be professional like your child’s educator will strive to act as well.
The number of cases of educators being harassed by parents and bullied online by students and parents alike are on the rise, hopefully you will not resort to these measures. There are other more productive ways of handling issues with your child’s care provider, deal with it cordially. After all, we do not want to raise bullies. instead, we want our children to know how to tolerate differences and how to properly deal with conflicts.
Early childhood educators are some of the most patient and passionate people I have had a chance to work with. Their personal lives may not be perfect but they do work as hard as any other professional (and even more) just to make sure your child had the best learning experience of the day.
Viewing your child’s educator this way would help you both to communicate with each other better and work together for your child’s best interest.
Special thanks to Luis Marina for the main image.