Parent Teacher Interviews

Your child spends a large proportion of their waking hours at school. Understanding the context of the reports that come home can be supported by face to face meetings with your child’s key teachers.

Apart from being able to make a time to speak to your children’s teachers as issues arise, parents are also able to attend Parent Teacher interviews, which are arranged formally through the school around twice a year. These events can be a little like ‘speed dating’, as you generally get around 15-20 minutes with each teacher. Hence it is really important parents make use of the time and prioritise questions, and effectively communicate issues or concerns.

Be organised and write down your topics or issues so that you cover each one.

Top tips for parent teacher interview questions:

  1. Is my child organised for class (do they have what they need, homework handed in, well prepared?)
  2. Is my child respectful, on time and attentive?
  3. What is the best communication platform for good teacher/parent interaction?
  4. Are there any behavioural issues I need to be aware of?
  5. Does my child settle well/communicate well with others or the teachers?
  6. How is my child’s progress assessed?
  7. Does my child need further assistance in a particular area?
  8. Is there anything I could be doing at home to assist?
  9. Is there a learning plan for ‘where to from here’?
  10. Are there support services I can access through school?

If you require follow up from the parent teacher interview, make sure you book a time to catch up.

 

Avoiding conflict

Being open and friendly will help ensure the focus stays on the learning outcomes and create positive communication between your child’s teacher and yourself. Sometimes teachers need to let you know when there are issues your child is having at school, which can make parents feel uncomfortable. Trying to remain calm and ask questions for clarity will assist in focusing on the issue rather than personal judgments of the situation. Offering practical solutions, or ways to solve the problem will enable you both to reach an understanding about what can be done to assist. Being a strong advocate for your child does not mean you should be defensive or apportion blame. It is far more effective to model calm, rational and solution based approaches, and also understand that sometimes resilient, long-lasting solutions take time. Ask if there can be a developmental approach, and allow for regular feedback, progress reports and open communication between yourself, the teacher and your child.

And if all else fails, you may need to seek assistance from one of the school leaders to help.

First time interview nerves?

Don’t forget that your teachers are human too… and may be feeling just as nervous as you about a first meeting!

More reading:

Queensland Department of Education

Raising Children Network

Teacher Magazine

 

Financial literacy for children

As children become aware of the world around them, and interact with friends and  society in general, it is important to give your children an understanding of money and its uses. Financial literacy is not only good for your child, but also good for our community. Themes include independence, the value of money and work, saving for goals, managing your finances and giving back to the community through charitable giving.

The Commonwealth Bank has a suite of financial literacy information and products that parents may find useful in helping to understand the topics and theme, and also empower their children from the beginning conversations about early concepts of money, support for school banking from primary to teens, and tools for community and classroom learning.

Beanstalk is a hub for financial literacy tips and tools – activities for practical application of financial literacy skills and videos on saving for kids.

Startsmart – is classroom based financial literacy lessons for primary and high school students.

School Banking – this provide an outline to the program and has all the tools and resources required by our volunteers to run the program at their school, and how to get children saving early.

Youth App – practical financial literacy and money management education for children

P&Cs Qld are delighted to be working with Commonwealth Bank this year as the sponsor for the P&C of the Year Awards

 

 

Exam pressures

Every parent with children who are studying, particularly in the later years of primary school, and in high school, would be all too familiar with additional pressures assignments and exams present to young people.

To help prepare for mid year or end of year pressure, ReachOut have come up with some timely advice for parents of students managing exam stress.

ReachOut is Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people and their parents. Their practical support, tools and tips help young people get through anything from everyday issues to tough times – and the information offered to parents makes it easier for them to help their teenagers, too.

Apart from the 7 tips presented here, ReachOut has several articles to assist parents understand the pressures for students, and some useful ideas to help reduce the stress sometimes caused by exam pressure.

Check their resources out!

Stress and teenagers

Exam stress

Parents helping with stress of exams

Managing and supporting inclusion and wellbeing at school

As parents, we know all to well that children have wide ranging abilities and differences. From learning and physical differences, food allergies, backgrounds and experiences, family dynamics, expression of sexuality and gender, and different religious and cultural beliefs.

It is expected that schools demonstrate a commitment to the wellbeing of all children, regardless of their background or ability, and to communicate this commitment to their school community.

Students learn best when their wellbeing is prioritised, and conversely, they develop a strong sense of wellbeing when they experience success in learning.

It is the primary responsibility of the principal to ensure systems are in place to promote and support the learning experience, health and wellbeing of students when at school or involved in school activities.

The department’s Student learning and wellbeing framework supports state schools with creating positive school cultures and embedding student wellbeing in all aspects of school life.

Schools develop a safe learning environment in collaboration with their school community to enrich learning environments that are open, respectful, caring and safe. See the Department’s website for more details on supporting student health and wellbeing.

If you are faced with a situation where you need the school environment addressed in regards to your child and student welfare, please contact your school principal directly.

For more information on services to assist your child’s wellbeing, see our section on student wellbeing.

 

Dept of Education: Information for parents

The Department of Education and Training has a dedicated web page to support parents as partners in education.

Outside of School Hours Care

The primary purpose of Outside School Hours Care is to provide a cost-effective service to parents of students in the local community.

OSHC services are organised and operated by service providers including P&C Associations, not-for-profit community groups and commercial providers.

All children who are eligible to attend a school, including those enrolled in the Prep Year, are eligible to apply to be enrolled in outside school hours care. Contact your local school to determine if a service is available at your school.

For more information on the fundamental principles of OSHC, please visit the DoE website.

What’s the buzz on outside school hours care? Check out this great video from our friends at YMCA Brisbane OSHC… Where magic happens!

The importance of play: Parents as first educators

Providing opportunities to play builds positive and fun relationships between you and your children.

Playing with your children promotes opportunities for you to support them as they experiment with new skills. The most positive reinforcement for children comes from the approval and praise of a parent.

The most important play for young children is play with parents – make sure you make some time for play every day.

“While there is no one definition of play, there are a number of agreed characteristics that describe play. Play can be described as:

  • pleasurable-play is an enjoyable and pleasurable activity. Play sometimes includes frustrations, challenges and fears; however enjoyment is a key feature
  • symbolic-play is often pretend, it has a ‘what if?’ quality. The play has meaning to the player that is often not evident to the educator
  • active-play requires action, either physical, verbal or mental engagement with materials, people, ideas or the environment
  • voluntary-play is freely chosen. However, players can also be invited or prompted to play
  • process oriented-play is a means unto itself and players may not have an end or goal in sight
  • self motivating-play is considered its own reward to the player (Shipley, 2008).”

Source: Early Childhood Australia 

“One of the greatest benefits of playing is to assist with the development of social competence. Children can build relationships, learn to resolve conflicts, negotiate and regulate their behaviours. In play, children usually have increased feelings of success and optimism as they act as their own agents and make their own choices. Playing is a known stress release; it is often linked to child wellbeing.”

Source: Why Play based learning works

  • Pretend/Make believe Play: puppets, dress ups, dolls, cars, dinosaurs.
  • Play outdoors: Throw balls. Push kids on swings. Make mud pies. Go on a hike around the neighborhood. Take a nature walk in your backyard.
  • Play games – card games – board games – silly and wacky kids games. Help them learn to take turns, how to win and how to lose. Praise them. Encourage them. Laugh with them.
  • Get involved in a craft project together. Build a jigsaw puzzle as a family. Bake cookies. Paint a picture.
  • Listen to music together. Sing along. Play rhythm instruments along with music. Get out the guitar or keyboard and make music.
  • Read a book together. Ask questions. Ask them to change the story or make up a new one.
  • Watch a movie together. Find out what they liked – how they felt. Discover the child’s interests. Comment on and discuss any bothersome content either words or actions.
  • Play kid games like: Follow the Leader, Guess What I Am? I spy.

Source: Child Development Institute

Support your early years teachers by actively encouraging Play Based learning.

The Early Years Learning Framework

The aim of this document is to extend and enrich children’s learning from birth to five years and through the transition to school.
The Council of Australian Governments has developed this Framework to assist educators to provide young children with opportunities to
maximise their potential and develop a foundation for future success in learning. In this way, the Early Years Learning Framework (the Framework) will contribute to realising the Council of Australian Governments’ vision that:
“All children have the best start in life to create a better future for themselves and for the nation.”


The importance of reading at home

Reading at home is one of the most important ways of engaging with your child in the journey of learning. From birth, children are immersed in the spoken word: speaking, singing and reading to children helps them to unlock the magic of language.

Starting school, you will be encouraged by teachers to begin home reading with your child. There will be many topics covered by home readers, and it is important to enrich the learning opportunities by extending the diversity of reading material offered to your child.

P&Cs Qld is delighted to be partnering with Griffith University to introduce their STEM focused home reader series Suzie the Scientist:

Learning to read is the single most important life skill that we, as parents, can pass onto our children. Raising awareness and developing skills in Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) to allow them to thrive in 21st century is also vitally important. The Suzie the Scientist home reader series empowers parents to do both.

To find out more information on this exciting new series visit their website: Suzie the Scientist

Back to school

First time in Prep, moving up to a new class, or moving to a brand new school; young people can get butterflies about starting new things. Here are some tried and true tips we have collected to help you and your child through the back-to-school jitters.

  • For beginners: Take time to explain how the school day is structured (e.g. morning tea and lunch breaks, assembly, sports).
  • Visit the school. Time the journey and familiarise yourself with the route.
  • Try on the uniform: Do you have all the bits you need? Does it still fit?
  • Practise lunch box choices and remember that a change is as good as a holiday!
  • Meet with friends who will be in the same class or are going to the same school.
  • Visit the library to borrow “getting ready for school” books.

  • Set a nice and easy routine to begin with (it may not stay that way!).
  • Take time to settle your young child: find the classroom, help put their bag away, find a friend to talk to etc.
  • How is your child getting home? Make a meeting plan for the end of the day or remind your child that they are going to outside school hours care.
  • Stay calm and positive – at least in front of your child! Many P&Cs hold “tea and tissues” get-togethers for new school parents.
  • Introduce yourself to other new parents and make plans for a coffee/chat. P&C executives are often around on the first day to help parents feel comfortable.
  • Say goodbye so your child knows when you have gone.

  • Ask simple questions: “What’s one thing that made you happy today?”
  • Phone a favourite friend or relative to share school news.
  • Manage tiredness by limiting after-school activities for the first term.
  • Reassess the lunch box: What works best? What is still in the lunchbox at the end of the day?
  • Make sure your routine is working for everyone.
  • Good luck and feel free to add your own tips to our Facebook page!

Lunch box tips

If you’re a parent or carer of children, lots of tasks are competing for your attention.

By the time you hit the supermarket aisle after a big week, it can feel overwhelming and lead to you reaching for easy food and drink choices that may not be best for your children’s health. Luckily, arming yourself with some simple tips, shopping suggestions and recipes early in the school year will set you up for success.

The Smart Choices – Healthy Food and Drink Supply Strategy for Queensland Schools is all about offering healthy food and drink choices to students in Queensland schools.

Smart Choices applies to all situations where food and drink is supplied in the school environment including tuckshops, vending machines, school excursions, school camps, fundraising, classroom rewards, school events such as celebrations and sports days, and food used in curriculum activities.

GREEN Have plenty: These foods and drinks are encouraged and promoted in schools.

AMBER FOODS select carefully: These foods and drinks should not dominate choices and should be avoided in large serve sizes.

RED foods have occasionally: The availability of these foods and drinks should be limited to no more than two occasions per term.