Advice Column, Education, Parenting

Your Role In Your Child’s Education

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  • Category Advice Column, Education, Parenting

from Foundation Phase to Intermediate Phase

The Parent:

The first step, as a parent, is realising that your child is not an independent learner during foundation and intermediate phase. This implies that your child needs to be taught and helped in their learning. The second step is to realise that your role is to teach, guide and assist your child in their educational, physical, emotional and social development. This role is critical to your child’s growth. Your child cannot progress positively without your assistance.

The third step is acknowledging that it is vital that you work with the teacher so that your child progresses successfully through school. Homework should be guided and checked by you. If your child is battling with concepts, you should work with them until they understand the concepts and can work with them independently.

The parent, the phases and the teacher:

Foundation phase: this phase is about developing a solid base of knowledge for your child and helping them further themselves in the school environment and life. Foundation phase is all about the basics in educational knowledge. Remember that your child has never been exposed to these concepts. They need to learn them and learn how to apply them. They need to be assisted at home to build a strong foundational knowledge that will assist them through school and later lead them to becoming independent learners.

It is your job to reinforce the knowledge taught at school and to ensure that your child understands, and can apply, the concepts introduced by the teacher.

Intermediate phase: this phase is about using foundational concepts to build their knowledge and learn new concepts. A child with strong foundational skills is more likely to succeed in this phase, and to develop a sense of independent learning. Your role as a parent in this phase is to guide and instruct your child, and for them to attempt the work individually without your continuous involvement. This does not mean your child is expected to work unassisted, but that they are required to work for periods independently, knowing that you are available should they get stuck.

This phase teaches them how to use their previous knowledge to learn new concepts. Your child is now at a stage where they are learning to work independently and develop their skills, but they are still reliant on the teacher and yourself to teach, instruct, and help them.

The parent and the teacher:

The teacher’s role is to introduce and practice new concepts in school. It is your role to practice these at home, and to bring to the teachers attention any concepts your child cannot grasp. This is followed by a teamwork approach between the teacher and yourself. This may include extra lessons or extra work to do at home. This is time consuming but essential. The teacher cannot do this individually and relies on you as a parent to be involved in your child’s education.

Some tips for Parents:

  • If you are unsure of the concepts yourself ask the teacher to show you – remember the teacher works with these concepts constantly.
  • If you are unsure how to teach or reinforce concepts at home, ask the teacher for tips, methods or recommendations.
  • If your child is struggling, make notes and bring these to the teachers attention.
  • Do not leave concepts that your child does not understand for the teacher to address – work with the teacher.
  • If your child is struggling, invest in extra lessons – do not wait until the later grades for tutoring, because then the child has to return to the basics in order to understand the current concepts.
  • Homework should be done in the afternoon. Do not wait until the evenings – most children are tired and unable to focus. If you are unable to do this ask a relative or friend. Another option is to hire someone who can assist your child. Also look into aftercare facilities that offer homework assistance.
  • Do not ignore or underestimate the importance of the foundation phase.
  • Intermediate phase homework should be guided, and the child should be able to do some of the work independently. By the end of grade 6 a child should be able to do the majority of their homework independently, but may still require some assistance.
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