Five Things To Discuss with Your Child’s New Teacher
It’s Back to School Season. Families everywhere are shopping for school supplies, relishing the last lazy days of summer, and gearing up for the first few days of school. That transition back to school? It’s rough for most kids (and let’s be honest, parents)……but can be especially tough for children with special needs. As a teacher, I often ask parents to meet with me BEFORE the school year begins. My goal? To make that transition as smooth as possible. I’ve found that the more information I have about a child, the more I can tailor the first day of school to meet their needs.
My suggestion? Call the school. Request a meeting (in person or a phone call) with your child’s teacher before the year begins.
Here are Five Things To Discuss with Your Child’s Teacher Before the School Year Starts:
1 | What motivates your child and what are their interests?
Does your child love stickers? Robots? Time with an adult one on one? Positive reports home? Don’t underestimate the power of positive reinforcement and familiarity. If your student loves dinosaurs, it’s pretty easy for me to work a dinosaur story into the first day. Anything to get them hooked and comfortable! It’s important for a new teacher to create a strong bond with your child…..and any info you can give us? VERY helpful!
2 | Has anything changed over the summer?
A lot can change during the summer months. Has your student been having trouble sleeping? Eating habits changed? Gotten additional therapy? Made major progress towards any goals that were set last year (if so, remember you can always ask for a follow up IEP meeting to make adjustments)?
3 | What has your summer schedule been?
All children are creatures of habit, and children with special needs rely on routines and norms to support them. If you’ve been having a snack at 9 am each day, but school recess isn’t until 9:30 am…..that’s definitely going to be difficult. The more we know, the more we can support your child. Maybe having a snack available, allowing for a break at a time they are accustomed to.
4 | What are your priorities for the start of the school year?
You know your child BEST. Is your initial goal that they transition to the classroom each day with minimal disruption? Is it that they participate in group activities? Play with others at recess? The more clear you are about initial goals and priorities, the easier it is for a teacher to support them.
5 | What you can do to support the transition from home to school:
Are you able to stay in class for the first few minutes each day? Can you volunteer once a week? Can you communicate via email or text then follow up with your child each evening?
We hope you found some of these prompts helpful and can put them to use before your child’s first day of school. If you can think of anything else to add to the list of questions, please leave your feedback in the comments below! Here’s to a wonderful school year ahead!
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