Parental Information

News you want - the way you want it

"Is your child being processed* for failure?"

...or EDUCATED for SUCCESS in life?

"A film investigating a range of examples of good practice in parental involvement in the London Borough of Hackneys Early Years and Sure Start programmes." 
                       Marie Lenclos

"Relationship building and ongoing communication enable teachers and families to develop a partnership that helps children succeed. Listen to one mother share how regular communication with her teacher changed how she supports and guides her child."  

                  Flamboyan Foundation

*Processed:  The systemic processing of African American children with negative images from birth to the grave.

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School Wisdom for Parents

1.    Don’t tell your child’s teacher how intelligent and gifted your child is.  If the child is truly gifted, it will show in the child’s work and classroom participation.

2.    Check your child’s backpack daily.  If you do your homework each day and check out your child’s carry home bag, your child will do their homework too and you will be kept abreast of upcoming school activities.

3.    Don’t use social or athletic activities as a reason for your child to skip homework.  If you take time off from work to play, you pay a price.  The same should hold true for your child – homework should be done no matter what else is going on.

4.    Don’t argue for a better grade for your child with the teacher.  Instead, find out why your child was given the grade he/she got.

5.    Don’t tell the teacher how well your child did last year.  The teacher has school records at his/her disposal and your child will show what they are capable of through class participation and homework that is done.

6.    Don’t berate the teacher for telling you that your child has a problem.  Instead, discuss possible solutions to the problem.

7.    Don’t interrupt the teacher when he/she is teaching.  It is rude and sets a poor example for your child as well as the rest of the kids in the classroom.  

8.    Don’t argue with the teacher in the presence of your child or any other children.  Excuse yourself and the teacher from the room if children are present when you go to the classroom to have a discussion with the teacher and a disagreement ensues.

Choosing a Preschool

By M. Renee Edwards

 

   As parents, we know that crucial brain development occurs in the first three to five years of our child’s life.  For that reason, we go to great lengths to make sure that our children are exposed to things that are educational as well as fun.  Choosing to send our children to preschool is but another aspect of ensuring that our kids are exposed to fun as well as academics, thereby setting the stage for their success in school in later years.

   Many parents opt for preschools that focus on academic programs rather than creativity or social skills.  But your choice of preschool should be suited to your child’s stage of development and personality rather than based on parents’ aspirations for their child’s future.

A report issued by the office of the California superintendent said that kids who go to “quality” preschools drop out of school less, are less likely to get pregnant as teenagers, have fewer problems with law enforcement, and are less likely to be placed in special education classes.  Those same children are more likely to go to college, less likely to end up on welfare, and are more likely to avoid long periods of standing in the unemployment line.

   What is a “quality” preschool?  Some define a quality preschool as one that has a safe and healthy environment; as one that meets a child’s relationship needs while helping that child reach critical developmental milestones.  But is that all a “quality” preschool is about?  What about creativity and the arts?  Aren’t there schools that offer both?

   Of course there are.  In fact, some preschools emphasize creativity and cater to the desires of the child, while others focus on structured learning and academics.  There are, however, different kinds of schools within each category.   For instance, some structured learning facilities give tests and homework.  The goal of these structured schools is, according to one preschool director whose school has an academic focus (including homework), to teach children to become self-sufficient, to learn to share, and to be sensitive to the feelings of others.  These schools, while being academic at their core, do have scheduled playtimes where children also learn social skills and are, she believes, the equivalent of a public school’s kindergarten.

   Another preschool, unstructured in nature, offers children a variety of options:  a room where they can dance and sing, another where kids can build with blocks, as well as an outdoor play area.  The children are allowed to do what they choose, as long as they inform staff of their choice.  Its director says, “children learn best when they follow their own interests.”  She also said in an L.A. Times report that, “we want whole kids who are healthy, happy and eager to learn, and not burned out by the time they’re 7.”    That’s a good point.  Sometimes parents, in their quest for their children to get the best education possible, don’t take into consideration that often times placing children in an academic environment at an early age has negative effects, causing behavioral problems in later years.  Again, make your preschool decision based on the needs of your child, rather than your desires for their education – they’ll have plenty of time to get into the educational swing of things once they hit kindergarten, even if all they do is play all day in preschool.  Your child will thank you for it later.

Preparing Your Child for Preschool

The following are some suggestions that may help you prepare your child for preschool:

Take your child with you when you visit the school.  Visit on a day when school is in, so that your child will have the opportunity to see what the school has to offer and a chance to meet the teacher.

 

Ease your child into the change of routine.  You can start simply – for example, by changing your child’s bedtime -- gradually easing the child into spending less time with you and more time playing on their own or with others.  You may also want to begin laying out clothing the night before to get them in the habit of doing so.

Use a calendar to highlight school days and activities.  Let your child see that his/her schedule is just as important as yours by allowing him/her to see your schedule, then highlighting school days and activities on a calendar designated as their own. 

Talk to your child about what the school offers.  Discuss with the school the general makeup of a typical day, then offer details about the school’s curriculum to your child – i.e., finger painting, playing outdoors with others, singing, looking at books, snacks and naps.

Familiarize the child with any new equipment they’ll be responsible for once they go to school.  For instance, if your child takes lunch, let them choose the lunchbox (or lunch bag) that they’ll use and talk to them about the importance of bringing it home each day.  Do the same for a backpack, sweater or jacket, etc.

To help your child be more comfortable on the first day, get a few phone numbers of future classmates and set up some dates for the children to meet and play together before the start of school. 

"Your choice of preschool should be suited to your child's stage of development and personality rather than parent's aspirations for their child's future."

"Again, make your preschool decision based on the needs of your child, rather than your desires for their education – they’ll have plenty of time to get into the educational swing of things once they hit kindergarten."

As an African-American parent, you have the power to boost your children's learning potential simply by making reading an integral part of their lives. For African-American kids, reading at an early age allows them to start their life on a good foot. Why?  What are specific advantages your toddler or preschool-age child would receive by being exposed to the merits of reading? Academic excellence. Basic speech skills. Better communication skills. Enhanced concentration and discipline. .  Books have the power to benefit toddlers and preschoolers in a myriad of ways.

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