I hope you have all had a lovely long weekend and enjoyed the little bit of extra time with friends and family.
Over the holidays there was an interesting study published, which you might have seen in the newspaper, saying parents want social and life skills to be taught in schools. There was then a couple of responses through blog posts that I saw from educators saying that social and life skills were the responsibility of parents, and teachers have their hands full teaching reading, writing, maths and all the other subjects.
The feeling I got from the tone of the original article and then the responses from educators was that of ‘sides’, which unfortunately becomes a blame game if a child has not learnt to regulate their emotions, use good manners or make good friends. This online debate left me thinking deeply about the partnership between home and school. The saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ came to mind, and in a village, or a community, everyone has a part to play and everyone’s part is important.
My thought processes led me to the thinking that parents have the God-given responsibility of raising a child to become the adult they want to see, and that those of us you choose to bring into your community, for example your church, the education facilities your children attend throughout their life, your friends etc, are all part of the support systems you have to raise your child in a village.
Last year John Parsons came to speak to the Rolleston School parents about internet safety. Unfortunately there was a reasonably low turn out at his event, because I felt like I came away from it with an amazing lesson on the strong, intentional love parents need to show their children in the form of supportive discipline and proactive teaching of values. His message was very much about the importance of parents instilling their family values into their children so they are able to demonstrate these values when they are not with their parents, eg. ‘at’ the internet.
So what part do schools and teachers play in this process?
I happened to overhear a conversation between a teacher and a parent last week that I think epitomises this idea of us being a support to you as you raise your child. The parent said “It’s very important to me that my children learn to show empathy.” Then the parent and teacher had a collaborative discussion about how they would approach this at home and school, drawing on their combined understanding of the child and developing empathy, to build steps towards what they are hoping to see.
I have a lot of respect for parents that are very intentional about developing the character qualities they want to see in their children. It is an honour to work with these people and play a role in this growth and development, and I have found that when teachers and parents work together on the same social and emotional goals a greater level of growth and development is seen.
I encourage you to think – What are the social, emotional and life skills you are currently wanting to build in your child/ren? Is there something your child’s kohanga teacher can work with you on to see this happen?
I pray for God’s blessing over you as you undertake the beautiful and important job of raising your children to grow into the adults you hope for.