He’s really a lovely child, but…
It can be a strange experience—opening a report card for the first time and seeing your child judged in black and white. It can raise a whole range of emotions—perhaps pride that someone has noticed their passion for music, their kindness or their mastery of Zeb and Danny. Perhaps relief that the temper that flares sometimes at home doesn’t often appear at school or that they’ve made progress in their maths.
If there are lots of “but”s or “doesn’t”s or “struggles” peppered throughout, however, it can bring on a sinking feeling—it may feel like the child that you know: the funny, clever, amazing child is now judged as a sum of what they can’t do.
We know that many classes just have too many children in them, and this presents challenges for each child to learn in their own way. We also know that the results of tests, rather than the everyday observations of teachers and parents, are often considered the most important measure of progress. Children who don’t excel in formal assessments can be deemed wanting in ability when the issue may be that the assessment doesn’t measure what they know.
So, whether your child has adjusted really well to school or whether they are struggling with some elements; whether you think the report card reflects accurately your child’s progress or misses many of their strengths, below are some ways to take what is constructive from the report card and cope with the rest:
- Give your child a big hug and kiss. Your affection and unconditional support are the most important things that you can give them. This will give them the confidence to try new things and make mistakes—the only way to learn!
- Pull out all of the positive things, whatever they are, and write them down (happy at school, shows enthusiasm in Art or PE; great progress in reading, etc.). Then, share these positives with your child and tell them how proud you are of them.
- Next, look at areas where your child may need extra support and see how you can help address this at home. Talk to a sympathetic teacher or other trusted person to get some advice—remember that children, especially young children, learn best through play so try your best to make it fun.
- If you are concerned that your child may need extra support, discuss this at the earliest chance with a teacher, your GP or your PHN.
For some useful resources, check out www.helpmykidslearn.ie.