Do you emerge from a teacher interview feeling like you have been judged as a good parent or a not good enough parent?
We are so connected to our children and we want the best for them. We also want them to keep up with whatever learning is taking place at school. No matter what we do, we cannot fully determine how they do at school. You might take them to catch-up classes in reading or maths or learning, or to other extra-curricula activities. You might help them with homework. Maybe you do some extra work with them. And even then, your child does not reach a standard in an area.
Feeling the pressure? Awful, isn't it. Judging yourself? It's hard not too. It's like your child is part of you, and any perceived judgement is aimed straight at you. Criticising yourself? Letting the child know about it?
Please know, that you have been doing your best. You love your child. And you might say that your best is not good enough and therefore you are not good enough. It's easy to get into this way of thinking.
You want the best for your child. The teacher wants the best too. He or she wants your child to learn effectively and easily. They are doing their best, though may not be able or have the time to really understand your child's learning needs.
Regardless, the standards are not of your child's teacher's making. Can every child really reach the same standard? I heard a politician say that the education emphasis is on achievement and standards are part of that. Really? Does not make sense to me. Children are individuals. They are not the same. How can they reach the same standard as everyone else in all areas? If a teacher is teaching to the standards only, they are doing a disservice to children. The world needs people who are themselves - confident in how they are and understanding of the way they learn and function. What sort of world will it be if people strive to reach an imposed standard, without considering the expansiveness of developing creativity and problem solving? Think about the wider picture. The standards are the current thing in education. Fast forward a few years and it will be something else. Standards are not the be-all and end-all. If your child is behind a standard in an area of learning, then don't take on responsibility to fix it. It is the teacher's job to figure out ways to improve a child's learning. Ask what they are going to do about it. The teacher is the teacher. You are the parent.
So YOU....the parent of a child. Celebrate all aspects of your child's learning and stop trying to make him or her catch up in all areas. Catch up to what? Celebrate your child, advocate for your child in the system, be strong and know that your best will be best. And toss that judgement stuff out the window.
There are a variety of boards available that have a magnet on a rod (to be held like a pencil), and little metal balls under a perspex cover. See photo.
The object is the move the balls using the rod with the magnet on the end. In order to move the balls along a path requires a person to plan movements. The paths include many corners. It's a bit like a maze. They come in different levels of difficulty and different appeals for children. There can also be a challenge of coordinating vision and developing the use of vision, especially as the ball cannot always be seen clearly, depending on the angle of the rod being held.
These boards are valuable in teaching a child to plan their fine motor movements. They need to be moving the ball and at the same time, using vision coordinated with thinking, to plan ahead. Great for learning to integrate these skills. These boards will develop skills that will be useful in printing letters.
Folding paper is one of those skills that us adults generally take for granted. But some children need to be taught every little step that is involved.
The photo shows strips of paper that i used to teach a child 2 types of folding: folding along a dotted line and folding an edge to another edge. Starting with smallish pieces of paper makes the task slightly more easy to master. Some people may think it more motivating or more interesting to have a project to make something in particular, but this will mean that an increased number of factors need to be thought about and more movements planned. Keep it simple.
Folding along a dotted line is actually more difficult because one has to hold the image of where the line is, in one's mind. And if there is an issue with spatial placement then this will be even more difficult. So to learn, one has to start to fold, and then visually check, and repeat this, at the same time using an ability to keep it straight. The final step is to run one's finger along the edge. Not away from the edge but right on the edge. So placing the index or middle finger so the edge is positioned in the middle of the finger, then exerting pressure as the finger is moved along the edge. Exerting pressure and moving in the right direction and staying on the edge can be tricky for some children.
Folding edge to edge also involves visual spatial skills: bending the paper over and lining it up along the other edge can be difficult for some children. Once that is achieved, then one hand needs to hold the edges in position while the other hand needs to use a finger to again exert pressure along the folded edge to create the fold.