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How can I work together with my child’s school to support them?

It’s important to build a positive relationship with your child’s school and teachers. That will make it easier to share information and help your child succeed in school. You and your child’s teachers can work together to support your child’s learning and wellbeing.

At times it may feel challenging to build a strong working relationship with the school. But try to keep in mind that you are both working towards what is best for your child. You are on the same team.

Here are some suggestions of what you can do:

  1. Get to know the staff at the school:
  • Be kind and encouraging to your child’s teacher as you work to build a connection with them. Your child is watching how you interact and will take cues from you. If they see you building a relationship with the teacher it may help to reduce your child’s anxieties.

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  • Whether it's a friendly wave when you take your child to school, or sending a nice note, find some little ways to communicate with the teacher. Say hello and something like, “You must be working really hard right now” or “You are doing a good job.” Tell the teacher that you really liked a certain project they had the class working on. A kind, casual relationship can go a long ways when it comes to working together to support your child.
  • If you can, volunteer at your child’s school and get to know the school staff. You will get a better idea of how the school runs and how to find help for your child. If you aren’t able to volunteer during the day, ask how you can be involved and help at special events, sporting events, field trips, etc. It can be eye opening to see how your child participates and interacts with other adults and children.
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  1. Request meetings to share information, discuss next steps and strategies:
  • Pick up and drop off times are busy times for teachers, and may not be the right time to have a quick chat.

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  • Make appointments with your child’s teacher. It’s okay to ask for a private time to discuss your child. It can help to come prepared to these meetings, and to have your questions and concerns written down so you can stay focused on why you are there.
  • Ask the teacher how they prefer to communicate. Some teachers like to use email; some may like a “back and forth” book that you both give small updates in. Others prefer a telephone call. This will help to make sure you are both on the same page.
  • Speak to your child’s school counsellor about what is going on, or ask to be connected to a counsellor in the school district. They can help you have conversations with other school staff. It’s helpful to have everyone on the same page.
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  1. Work with the school to try to get some supports and accommodations in place:
  • Together with school staff, brainstorm ways to best support your child in the classroom. Examples of accommodations include:
    • less homework
    • different start or end times for your child at school
    • a room or place your child can go if having problems
    • a longer time for assignments and tests

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  • Come up with ideas of your own and be prepared to share examples of why something may work or not work. You know your child and what works for them and what doesn’t. Also, be prepared to try some things that the school suggests even if you don’t think they will work. You are working towards a cooperative relationship, so there is give and take. If they suggest things that would truly not benefit your child, speak up and say so in a firm, but respectful manner. Then see if you can all come up with a different strategy to meet the goal. It’s important to be flexible but so is protecting your child’s mental health.
  • Make sure you understand and agree with the supports, strategies and goals for your child. Do not hesitate to ask questions and ask for more information until you fully understand.
  • Ask for links to services, resources, and supports that may be helpful to your child and family.
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You can reach out to us at the Kelty Centre to help brainstorm ideas for your child and discuss ways to communicate with your school.


Featured Resources:

Speaking Up: A parent guide to advocating for students in public schools (BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils)

A toolkit for families Module 5: Children and youth in the school system (HeretoHelp)

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