At this time of year I often ask my students what they are thankful for—and their answers are always inspiring!
This year, I want to share with parents the simple things that make early elementary school teachers thankful. Here are 10 ways that teachers are grateful to parents in preparing a young child for school success:
Reading often with your child. This is the number one way to prepare your child for school.
Practicing counting forward and backward. This sounds like a very simple activity, but this preparation for addition and subtraction is very helpful.
Playing board games as a family. Board games are a great way to learn about taking turns, rolling dice, and learning to be a good winner (or accepting defeat graciously).
Exercising or playing outdoor games with your child. In addition to being great fun together, these activities strengthen your child’s gross motor skills.
Encouraging your child to use scissors safely. Let him help you cut out coupons, box tops, pictures from magazines or brochures, or other cutting activities to help him improve fine motor skills.
Visiting your local library. By taking advantage of story times and summer programs and routinely letting your child get books out of the library, you’re opening her world to new language and experiences.
Expecting your child to clean up after herself. Putting toys away, cleaning up crayons or puzzles, and making the bed are all jobs that young children should do. Having your child clean up her messes teaches responsibility for her own actions.
Arranging play dates with other children. Every time you arrange play dates with other children, you give your child an opportunity to practice good social skills, how to share, solve problems, and getting along with others.
Setting routines and sticking with them. A specific bedtime each night, homework routines, and clear consequences and follow-through for misbehavior all create a safe and predictable environment for your child.
Teaching basic manners. Young children should learn not to interrupt. They should always say “please,” “thank You,” “excuse me,” or “I’m sorry” when appropriate. They should cover their mouth, or sneeze and cough into the crook of their elbow. Manners like this can set your child apart—for all the right reasons!
So, from this 1st grade teacher, a heartfelt Thanksgiving “Thank You” to parents for all you do to promote your child’s school success!
Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.