Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Back to school

My son starts school again today, in Year 1, which has prompted me to think about how we will be involved this year. As with all things we need to make wise decisions about the amount of time we can give to the school. If we stay in this area, we will be a part of this school for 12 years, so I feel it is the main thing in the community that we can be involved in for the long term.

Here are some of my thoughts:

1. Try to get to know his teacher well.

This was a wonderful blessing last year - his teacher was lovely and I felt we were 'on the same page' when dealing with Mr 5 and any issues that arose. I knew she cared about him and how he was going, and (I presume) she knew that I was on her side and supportive of what she was doing in the classroom. I also tried to get to know her as a person, about her family, etc, so that not every conversation we had was about my child. This could obviously be harder with another teacher with a different outlook or personality, but that is my goal.

2. Figure out how to be involved in the school community

This is a tricky one, considering we still have 2 littler ones at home. Reading in class is not easy, and I would have to give up precious time on my free Thursdays to do this without the girls with me. I will have to think about this one.

A friend of mine (with 3 children at school this year and 3 at home) had a great idea on this one. She approached the school and said that she wanted to be involved, but could not be at the school while she did so - she ended up covering new books for the library at home.

We are also considering whether it is possible for G to go on school council or something like that.

3. Get to know the children in his class

This was the main benefit of going into the class for reading for a term last year -I met almost all the children and they all knew I was M'r 5s mum. I knew the children who Mr 5 would speak of and I was able to understand some of the class dynamics a little more. I could encourage certain friendships and also see which children might be a good idea for us to get to know better.

4. Get to know the parents and families of the children in his class

It took me until halfway through last year to realise that I probably only saw the parents of about half the children in the class - some came from and went to Out of Hours care, some were dropped off by parents never entering the school, and some probably walked on their own.

I am also started to realise just how many mothers also work, at least part-time, so even organising something during the day is difficult.

Last year, we hosted a coffee and dessert evening for the parents of the children in Mr 5's class, and while not many came, it was a good time of chatting and getting to know a few people better. We will certainly hope to do that again this year.

Our school has a lot of immigrant families, who do not seem to be openly welcomed by the Australian parents. I think this is an area where we may try to be different and seek to get to know those families. It was only towards the end of the year that I realised how lonely some of these women are, they are here for their husband's study or work, they do not have work visas and they are looking after children in a foreign country all on their own.

5. Continue the prayer group that we started last year

I am hoping that the 4 of us (school mothers) who started a prayer group last year will continue meeting to pray specifically for the principal, council, teachers, students and parents.

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Those are my thoughts so far, I will have to come back and review this in December to see how the year worked out in the end!

Photo from stockxchng.

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