Enjoying school

Enjoying school
You have a role to play in helping your child enjoy school. You can instil in him a thirst for learning every day.

You have a role to play in helping your child enjoy school. You can instil in him a thirst for learning every day.

Kindergarten marks the start of your child’s grand adventure at school. It’s therefore important that this first experience be a positive one. “If your child feels comfortable in kindergarten, he’ll have a better impression of school and feel more confident about his ability to succeed there,” says Anne-Marie Picard, director of the Comité régional pour la valorisation de l’éducation (Regional committee for the promotion of education). “If the transition to kindergarten goes smoothly, the child has greater chances of staying motivated and performing well throughout elementary and even high school.”

Your actions and words have a huge influence on your child. See what you can do every day to nurture his thirst for learning and help him enjoy going to school:

Be loving and attentive. Quickly responding to your preschooler’s needs and questions, taking the time to listen to him and showing an interest in what he’s doing are all actions that build confidence. They instil in him a desire to explore and learn more.

Read stories to your child. This develops his vocabulary and gets him to look forward to learning to read. This is important since reading will serve him well in all subjects taught in school.

Encourage your child to ask questions. This sparks his curiosity. You should also encourage your child to look for the answers with you on the Internet or at the library. The desire to understand things fosters academic motivation.

Get your child to speak often. You can ask your preschooler what he did at daycare, if he has any ideas about how to settle a little problem, or what he would do if he were the character in a story. This will get him used to reflecting on things and saying what he thinks about them.

Talk positively about the school. You can tell him that he’ll have fun at school, that he’ll make new friends and learn all sorts of things, so that he looks forward to going.

When you read stories to your child, encourage him to ask questions and look for answers with you to foster his interest in learning.

If you don’t have happy memories of school, it may be difficult for you to speak positively about it. “But you shouldn’t imagine that your child’s experience will be the same as yours,” insists kindergarten teacher Maryse Courville. “You need to believe in your child’s ability to succeed.” It’s best not to share your unhappy memories with your child. Without even having set foot in the classroom, he might start thinking that school is not a nice place and that he won’t like it there. Instead, you can tell your child that you’re proud to see him all grown up and ready to start school. By going to parent-teacher meetings and activities, you’ll see how things are run. “This may help you reconcile with school,” the teacher adds.

My child doesn’t want to go to school
It’s important that the child understands he has to go to school–now that he’s reached this step, it’s non-negotiable. “The cause for this refusal is often stress and fear of the unknown,” explains Maryse Courville. “Ask your child questions to try to understand what’s worrying him in order to reassure him. During the first few days, it’s often possible to accompany your child directly to the classroom. The teacher can help you reassure him.” If your child no longer wants to go to school after a few days or weeks, you need to try to understand the cause. “Don’t delay in talking to his teacher about it. She can help you find a solution.” 

Naître et grandir

Source : Naître et grandir magazine, July-August 2016
Research and copywriting : Nathalie Côté and Julie Leduc
Scientific Review : Maryse Rondeau, Kindergarten Teacher and Chair of the Association d’éducation préscolaire du Québec Board of Directors

Photo: Nicolas St-Germain