Today we welcome Windy Lopez-Aflitto from Learning Heroes to the blog! Below, Windy shares "power moves" that parents can use to make back-to-school a success.
Although preparing for back-to-school time can be stressful for parents, students and certainly teachers, what I love most about this time of year is the opportunity for a fresh start.
When I was a teacher, I used this time to build a real connection with my students and their parents. I wanted to start the year off strong—to encourage us all to set those nervous butterflies free, and remember that we embark on this journey together.
I also used it as a chance to try and build simple but concrete habits to help create a positive learning environment for my students in school and at home.
Now, as a proud mom and part of the team at Learning Heroes—an organization created to provide parents with information, resources and opportunities to help their children succeed in school—I’m excited to share our Super 5 Back-to-School Power Moves:
Start Smart: As parents we juggle so much that it’s hard to keep up with exactly what our children are supposed to be learning. The school year also has a way of flying by, and it’s easy to end up in a situation where your child is struggling and you wonder, how did it get to this point? That’s why it’s so important to find out your child’s learning goals for the year so that you can get the support your child needs along the way, and keep them on track.
Support Learning Anywhere: One of the most powerful things we can do as parents is model the fun and love of learning. We may do this instinctually, but there are more ways to turn everyday moments into teaching opportunities—whether it’s asking questions about things we want to learn more about, measuring ingredients together as we cook a quick meal, or reading and pointing out words as we shop. My young daughter loves it when we make up silly rhymes (and I love knowing that I’m teaching her important language skills while entertaining her as we run errands)!
Stay Connected: Let’s be honest—we have a lot on our plates, as do our children's teachers. But we really do need each other if we want our children to succeed. Teachers can share important insight on the skills children need to learn, and parents can support these skills at home, while also sharing their knowledge of their child’s habits, issues and interests. Preparing for parent-teacher meetings ahead of time with specific questions helps make the best use of that important time, but it’s really about building a partnership where there is mutual respect and ongoing communication. This can happen via a quick phone call, email or even an old-fashioned handwritten note.
Take on Challenges: Every time my daughter struggles with learning a new skill, I stop and remind myself to find that balance of helping her while also allowing her to struggle through it and figure it out on her own. I know that life’s challenges will only get harder as she grows older, and teaching her important life skills like self-control, perseverance and how to communicate with others are critical to her ability to succeed not just in school but life.
Speak Openly: There is so much going on—both good and bad—in the world and in our communities today. I think it’s more important than ever to take the time to build real trust with our children so that they aren’t afraid to share their hopes, fears and questions on a daily basis.
It’s hard work at times, but what’s better than knowing we really can be our child’s learning hero? For easy-to-use resources and tools from our partners at National PTA, Scholastic and others, check out our Super 5 Back-to-School Power Moves here. And, good luck powering through this school year!