Take Your Parents to School Day


            We hear about days when parents take their children to work in order to introduce them to that environment and part of their lives. What about the opposite approach - at least one day during the school year when a parent accompanies the child to school?

            There are several benefits that can come from parents accompanying their children to school:

  • Itís a chance to meet your kidís friends. You probably know all the closer friends, but this is an opportunity to meet the ones your child talks about but who do not get to visit your home.
  • You can see a wide range of childrenís temperaments at school. If you want to get a better understanding of your childís age-appropriate behavior, there is nothing like seeing twenty or more peers in action at the same time.
  • See your child in a different light. I am amazed at how often I see parents who are surprised at how well-behaved their children are at school. They tell me their children do not act that way at home. You, too, may be surprised.
  • You will be guided through your childís world. She knows the ins and outs. Let her be in charge of showing you how it all works.
  • Get to know the teacher better. What kinds of things do your kids say about their teachers? Hereís a chance to see them first-hand.
  • See the teacherís conflict resolution skills. No doubt, there will be squabbles of some sort during the day. You may learn some new techniques by watching the teacher solve school problems, thus adding to the repertoire you use at home.
  • Understand the context to the school work you have been seeing at home. See how the teacher presents the work and what she expects in the way of independent or cooperative work.
  • Things have changed since you have been to school. Do you remember when we sat in straight rows and werenít allowed to look at anyone elseís paper? Nowadays, many kids sit around large tables and work in cooperative groups. Get a better feel for this by being there to see it.
  • Learn to ask meaningful questions at home. You will be able to go deeper than asking, ďWhat did you do today?Ē When you know the schedule and routine better, you can ask informed questions about all aspects of the school day, such as the library, science teacher, physical education, and any of the myriad people who contribute to your childís learning experiences.
  • Show your child that you value education, school, the teacher, and all aspects of school life. Nothing shows support for your childís education more strongly than your being there.

            If you decide to do this, here are two additional suggestions:  

  • Each parent should go individually on different days, since each person has his own perspective. Additionally, you will show your children that concern for their education is not the job of just one parent.
  • Youíre going to see a more typical day if you go randomly, rather than on a day when all parents are invited together. In this way, you will  be sure that the school is not putting on a show for you.

           Jay Davidson has been teaching in San Francisco for 31 years; he teaches first grade. He is the author of Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents, which is available for $12.95 from Amazon.com. He can be reached through his website at www.jaydavidson.com.

This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents.

All columns are copyright © Jay Davidson.  Permission is hereby granted for individuals to download and copy them for individual use.  There is a modest charge for printing these columns in any publication.  To receive that permission, contact   Jay Davidson